Village of Tangipahoa recovers one year after tornado

TANGIPAHOA PARISH, La. (WGNO) — “We heard a boom. It sounded exactly like a freight train, and it was piercing my ears,” said Village of Tangipahoa Mayor Shelia Martin.

One year later, Village of Tangipahoa resident David Cook said the memories of the tornado still haunt him.

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“Yeah, I lost everything. So, I’m trying to pick back up a little bit now. I mean it’s sad. I really don’t know what to say but thank God I’m living,” said Cook.

Martin said the tornado caught her by surprise. After it ran through the town, she and her husband tried to rescue residents trapped inside their mobile homes.

“There was a lady in there, she said ‘I am in here with my dog. I can’t get to the door I can’t move.’ So, my husband went to that trailer. I could see where the overturned mobile home was. Two children and the mother and the father were there,” said Martin.

But it was the beacon of hope in the community, Quinn Chapel AME Church, where an exterior wall sustained damage.

“It was a devasting time in our lives,” said church member Brenda Nevels.

Yet, Nevels said they remained strong and congregated with a nearby church. She said the feeling of reopening the church’s doors in December of 2023 was surreal.

“I grew up in this church, and when the tornado came, I was so devastated but now it’s just like a breath of fresh air coming back into our church. Just so glad to be at home,” said Nevels.

Martin recalls the rebuild part of the healing process and says she’s grateful things weren’t worse.

“I’m really Christian faith based. I thank God I didn’t have to call a coroner or anything. We had physical damage, we lost cars and houses, but no lives,” said Martin.

Those in town said they thank all the agencies and organizations that came to their aid a year ago to help them rebuild.

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