1 dead, 8 injured after storms pummel Louisiana

One person died and eight were injured after a severe storm and tornadoes pummeled Louisiana, causing what authorities described Wednesday as “catastrophic” damage in some areas around New Orleans.

The fatality and injuries were in St. Charles Parish, west of the city, sheriff’s spokeswoman Amanda Pertuis said. She said they were related to the storm and described the injuries as non-life threatening.

She did not provide additional details.

Earlier, parish president Matthew Jewell declared a state of emergency after reports of a twister hitting Killona, downing power lines and blocking roads. 

In St. Bernard Parish, officials said a confirmed tornado struck Arabi, just east of New Orleans, causing “major” damage. Authorities in nearby Jefferson Parish described the destruction there as “catastrophic.” 

Images posted on the Facebook page of the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office showed a training facility in Harvey on the West Bank of the Mississippi River that appeared to have been decimated. No one was injured, the sheriff’s office said.

The sheriff’s office said it was assessing damage in the area and carrying out search and rescue operations. 

More than 40,000 customers were without power Wednesday night in the eastern part of the state, according to Poweroutage.us.

Adam Lee, left, and Jr. Ibarra, right, carry a table from a friend's home after it was destroyed by a tornado, on Dec. 13, 2022, in Wayne, Okla.
Adam Lee, left, and Jr. Ibarra, right, carry a table from a friend’s home after it was destroyed by a tornado, on Dec. 13, 2022, in Wayne, Okla. Sue Ogrocki / AP

Earlier, a tornado struck New Iberia, a couple of hours west of New Orleans, briefly trapping people in their homes, police and the National Weather Service Lake Charles said.

The tornado touched down in the Southport subdivision area just before 11 a.m. An NWS spokesperson said a storm survey will be conducted to determine its strength.

A police spokesperson said in a video update around 1:30 p.m. that all damaged buildings and structures were searched and everyone has been rescued.

“So far, no fatalities have been reported, just injuries, which these individuals are being treated at local hospitals,” the spokesperson said.

On Tuesday, the storm claimed the lives of a boy and his mother in the western part of the state. Officials identified them Wednesday as Nikolus Little, 8, and his mother, Yoshiko Smith.

The Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office said they were killed after a tornado destroyed their home in Keithville. Nikolus was found dead in a wooded area, and his mother’s body was found hours later under a pile of debris, the sheriff’s office said.

At least two others were hospitalized in unknown conditions in Shreveport. Other injuries were reported in Farmerville, Louisiana, and in Texas after a tornado struck the city of Grapevine. The weather service said preliminary information showed there were 14 tornadoes across north Texas.

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