Crews comb through devastated neighborhoods in New Orleans area

A tornado kills 1, leaves thousands without power
Originally Published: 23 MAR 22 00:56 ET
Updated: 23 MAR 22 08:11 ET

(CNN) — Search and rescue teams were combing through debris and damaged neighborhoods in the New Orleans area Wednesday morning after a tornado killed at least one person and left thousands without power the evening before.

The twister killed one person and caused heavy damage in the Arabi neighborhood in St. Bernard Parish just outside New Orleans on Tuesday night, Parish President Guy McInnis told CNN.

“We have some homes that were leveled. We have homes that were lifted up and put back down on the street,” McInnis told CNN’s Don Lemon.

“The area that I’ve seen tonight, it’s totally devastated in a few of our neighborhoods.”

The tornado touched down in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward and the New Orleans East community just before 8 p.m. Tuesday, New Orleans Mayor Latoya Cantrell said. No reports of casualties or significant damage were immediately made in Orleans Parish, which includes New Orleans, Cantrell said Tuesday night.

A separate tornado touched down in Lacombe in St. Tammany Parish, across Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans, on Tuesday evening, the National Weather Service said on Twitter. No reports of injuries or damage to homes were immediately made in Lacombe, though some homes were left without power, the parish government said on Twitter.

McInnis, the St. Bernard Parish president, said he didn’t yet have a firm number on injuries but there are reports of several residents seeking treatment.

“We’ve got a long night ahead of us and a long road to recovery, but I feel confident that we will get everything done here quickly for our citizens,” McInnis said.

Arabi Elementary School will be closed Wednesday, the St. Bernard Parish Public School System said. “All other public schools in St. Bernard Parish will be open and follow normal schedules,” the district said.

New Orleans police and other emergency workers were staging to help in St. Bernard Parish, Cantrell said.

“Residents should avoid all travel that isn’t essential, to provide an opportunity for the professionals to handle this situation,” she said.

More than 2,800 homes and businesses were without power in Orleans and St. Bernard parishes as of 6:15 a.m. CT Wednesday, according to PowerOutage.us. Crews were working to restore power to those impacted, Cantrell said.

A tornado also may have struck in nearby Jefferson Parish, according to a tweet from the parish government. No reports of injuries or major damage were immediately made there, according to the tweet.

State agencies are assisting local agencies as they assess the damage and impacts of the tornadoes, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said.

“My prayers are with you in Southeast Louisiana tonight. Please be safe,” he said in a tweet.

The National Weather Service is sending survey teams out in the morning to assess damage in Arabi, Gretna and Lacombe, the agency’s New Orleans office said on Twitter.

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