Wednesday, February 14, 2007

New Orleans Tornados

Posted by Jeff Lipshaw

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, more weather-related problems in New Orleans (my wife and son are digging out in Indianapolis).

The night before last, at about 3:00 a.m., a tornado touched down in Westwego, which is across the Mississippi River from New Orleans, then proceeded across the river to what is known as theCarrollton Carrollton area of Uptown New Orleans.  This is a mixed student-permanent neighborhood between the Tulane campus and the bend of the Mississippi River as it proceeds north and west.  (On the map at right, the Tulane campus is the dark spot in the middle; the tornado touched down just to the left where it says "East Carrollton.")  There is also a commercial strip along Maple Street with bars, restaurants, and my regular Starbucks, which has the singular advantage of opening at 6:00 a.m.

OhouckAlthough there was a death and injuries in another affected neighborhood, as I understand it, there were no serious injuries in the Carrollton area.  Two Tulane professors live right there, and had some fairly significant damage to their homes.  When the power went out in the law school for a while yesterday morning, I went to Oliver Houck's house to see if I could help, and saw at least one house down the street that had its entire second story taken off, and another with the entire front of the house gone.  In true tornado fashion, however, two blocks to the east, there was no indication of a storm.  (I have previously noted how Professor Houck has become one of my heroes.)

I never did find Oliver; apparently he and Lisa were clearing debris in the back of the house, where most of the damage was sustained.  True, however, to his almost mythical persona, Ollie showed up later in the afternoon for the faculty meeting.  Also typical of Ollie, as nobody in the neighborhood, amazingly, was hurt, he called it one of the most exhilarating, fun days of his life, the kind of thing we experience when communities and neighborhoods truly act as communities and neighborhoods, apropos of this post-Katrina thought.

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Jeff, here is a very useful and harrowing map (from lawyer Aaron in N.O., HT to Ray Ward) redlining the tornado path and pinpointing where the finger of God touched.

Posted by: Alan Childress | Feb 14, 2007 5:20:59 PM

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