Storm leaves trail of destruction in Paincourtville, La.

Storm leaves trail of destruction in Paincourtville, La.
Damage in Paincourtville, La. (Source: WAFB)
Damage in Paincourtville, La. (Source: WAFB)
Damage in Paincourtville, La. (Source: WAFB)
Damage in Paincourtville, La. (Source: WAFB)
Damage in Paincourtville, La. (Source: WAFB)
Damage in Paincourtville, La. (Source: WAFB)

PAINCOURTVILLE, LA (WAFB) - In Assumption Parish, state and local officials were on the ground accessing the damage Wednesday. However, it was the people who live and work in the hardest hit area along Highway 1 in Paincourtville that were trying to come to terms with reality after a tornado ripped through the area Tuesday.

People in the area said they have been through hurricanes like Betsy and Gustav and never saw the damage that was made by Tuesday's storms.

The house belonging to Joe Daigle was picked up and moved off its pillars, while other houses were obliterated. Residents spent Wednesday digging through their belongings.

Daigle loaded up anything he could salvage as he tried to find where he is headed next. 
He said he came home to find the house thrown off the pillars, where the house had rested for over a century.

"The steps used to come up to the porch on the side right here, and the whole house has moved over about 10 to 12 feet forward and about 4 feet to the side," said Daigle.

Daigle said the house seems to be pretty intact on the inside besides the busted windows.

"I found tools from the shed. My chainsaw and leaf blower was in the kitchen and the living room that flew out of the shed through the windows," Daigle said. "Leaf blower was sitting on my recliner when I walked through the house."

State Police Col. Mike Edmonson and Governor John Bel Edwards were in the area and got a bird's eye view of the path of destruction left behind.

Tractors were tossed around like toys. One home looked like it was under construction when in reality the roof flew off. Nothing left to many of the trees and one tree was split in half. A 40,000-pound cane wagon flew over a ditch to its final resting place blocks away.

"Just disbelief. We been here since 1966. I went through a fire in 1974 in the office. I know this can all be redone but it's just overwhelming," said Liz LeBlanc George, co-owner of the LeBlanc Brothers Concrete Mixing which was destroyed.

George was counting her blessings Wednesday morning. She said she ran out of things to do while here at work Tuesday so she decided to head home around 1 p.m. after having watched many of her employees rush out much earlier in the day.

"I even joked with the other secretaries that left. I said y'all leaving in such a rush you would think the tornado is right there in the cane field," said George.

Little did she know that truly would be the case. George said she was worried about hail damage and they had just bought two new concrete mixing trucks so they pulled them into a metal shed. Instead, the tornado destroyed that shed leaving the trucks even more damaged.

Sagona's Hardware, which is across the street, had its tin roof scattered all over the roadway.

A tow truck had to put two 18-wheelers upright after they were tossed on their sides.

The water tower in Paincourtville was blown down into a pile of mangled metal on the ground. The entire parish remains under a boil advisory. Water samples are expected back early Thursday. If they come back negative, the boil order could be lifted as early as Thursday morning.

All schools in the parish will be open Thursday.

Officials said that they closed the shelter because no one went to it. However, they will reopen it if anyone does need it.

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