NEWS

Gov. John Bel Edwards declares state of emergency after tornadoes impact southeast Louisiana

Staff Report

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency following damage from tornadoes in St. Bernard, Orleans, Jefferson and St. Tammany parishes on March 22.

Edwards traveled to the affected areas to conduct a flyover of the impacted area.

“Unfortunately this morning, many of our people are waking up with their lives upside down because of the tragic tornadoes last night in St. Bernard, Orleans, Jefferson and St. Tammany parishes. Sadly, one person has died in the storm, and we are praying that there are no more fatalities,” Gov. Edwards said. “Thankfully, local and state responders worked through the night to help as many families as they could overnight, and the work will continue into today and the coming weeks. Unfortunately, our people have become all too familiar with rebuilding after tragedy and loss, but it is never easy. My prayers are with everyone who is hurting because of these tornadoes today and I have pledged to local leaders that we will be here to support their long-term recovery efforts.”

Homeowners can begin self-reporting damage to their home (residential structures only, no vehicles) to help parish, state and federal authorities better understand the location and severity of the damage impacts. Fill out the survey and submit information to Damage.la.gov.

The response effort started last night with search and rescue teams and law enforcement personnel being deployed to assist local first responders in the area. The Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) hosted Unified Command Group (UCG) meeting this morning to determine the next steps for response and recovery.

After strong storms moved through the area, a debris-lined street is seen in the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans late on Tuesday, March 22, 2022.

St. Bernard Parish officials have confirmed the death of a 25-year old man as a storm related death. Several other people were transported to the hospital and local emergency officials say dozens of homes were damaged in St. Bernard Parish alone. Exact numbers will become available once the initial emergency response is completed.

The National Weather Service reports two tornadoes have been confirmed. Three survey teams will be in the field today to determine the scale and track of those tornadoes and to determine if additional tornadoes were a factor.

The Louisiana State Fire Marshal’s Office has deployed more than 100 personnel and search and rescue specialists from fire departments in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and other nearby parishes.