Tornado touches down in Mamou
By: MICHAEL BORDELON
The Town of Mamou was hit by more tornados Friday evening at around 4:30 p.m. but luckily there were only minor injuries.
Mayor Wilda Chamberlain said there was a lot of damage in Mamou. Two trailers and a home in South Park Subdivision and several homes on Railroad Avenue were damaged when a tornado briefly touched down there. Due to the high winds, the housing authority building also received damage.
Evangeline Parish Public Works Director Chester Granger, who is also Mamou’s assistant fire chief, saw two tornados form on state Highway 95. Granger said one of the tornados never touched ground, but he watched the other tornado cross over Fred Street, just south of Mamou, where it tore the roof off of one home and demolished a trailer. The occupant inside the trailer received only minor injuries, cuts and scrapes, according to Chamberlain and Police Chief Greg Dupuis.
Several other firemen in the area saw the tornados as well, but Granger was one of the closest, stating he was 200 to 300 yards away from it.
Chamberlain said a man inside his home when the roof was torn off huddled between the stove and island in his kitchen during the harrowing ordeal. Chamberlain added she saw the inside of the home after the tornado hit and said he picked the perfect area to hide, as the rest of the home was severely damaged.
Dupuis stated the same tornado made its way through the southeast part of town. It even hit the St. Ann’s Cemetery and caused damage to several headstones. He said the tornado threw trees onto cars, tore out some utility poles and caused damage to several buildings. According to Dupuis, the tornado eventually touched down at the corner of Eighth and Main streets, disappeared, and then touched down again on the corner of Fourth and Mulberry streets before leaving town.
While the tornado covered a lot of ground, Dupuis said it happened quickly. Chamberlain added it seemed most of Mamou’s residents saw the tornado rip through the town.
“Thank God no one was seriously injured,” Chamberlain said.
Due to the tornado, a significant portion of Mamou was without power so a curfew, from dusk till dawn, was put into effect. Dupuis said there were no incidents Friday night, and was discussing the situation with Cleco Saturday morning. He said the curfew could be lifted if enough power is restored Saturday evening, but at press time, there was no final word on the issue.
To find out the latest news on the curfew, contact the Mamou Police Department at 468-5221.
Liz Hill, director of Office of Emergency Preparedness said two tornados were spotted around 4:30 p.m. and only one is believed to have touched ground. Another was spotted two hours later near the intersection of Poinciana and Beacon Road, but it did not make landfall.
After inspecting the area, she said there was a lot of debris. The trailer house was totally destroyed and landed with its wheels up in the air. A home’s roof nearby was literally ripped off as the homeowner huddled on the floor near the snackbar. He was unhurt was shaken. The man in the trailer had lots of abrasions but was not injured seriously. There was some damage near a housing project nearby.
All of this weather was associated with Hurricane Ike, which was described as bigger than the state of Texas.