‘Always smiling;’ Neighbors recount moments before tornado victim’s house was destroyed

Published: Mar. 23, 2022 at 11:54 AM CDT

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A man killed when a tornado ripped through parts of St. Bernard Parish has been identified as 25-year-old Connor Lambert.

Connor Lambert
Connor Lambert(Chalmette High School)

Neighbors say they were upstairs when Lambert pulled up to his house before the storm hit. Cole Baiamonte says they saw Lambert pull into the driveway in his truck before they took cover. Minutes later when they emerged, Lambert’s house was gone.

“It was a horrifying scene, a very unfortunate situation,” Baiamonte says. “My family is thankful that God was able to protect us. My heart and prayers are out to this family.”

“Conner was always smiling, always happy,” a neighbor says.

Lambert was a Chalmette High grad. Superintendent of St. Bernard Parish Public Schools, Doris Voitier, says Lambert was “truly an example of parish pride.”

“A tremendous student-athlete, he was a National Merit Scholar and a stand-out football player at Chalmette High School. Connor also had a distinguished college career, graduating with a degree in engineering. Most recently, he was working with NASA at the Stennis Space Center,” Voitier says. “Connor was the youngest son from an incredible family with deep roots in our school and community. We are heartbroken for Connor’s passing and want them to know how deeply we all feel this loss, but how grateful we were to have had him in our school family. We send our heartfelt condolences to his family and to all of those who loved him.”

Tornadic storms broke out around 7 p.m. Tuesday, devastating parts of the Lower 9th Ward and New Orleans East in Orleans Parish and Arabi in St. Bernard Parish.

Shocking footage showed a large, multi-vortex funnel enveloping the New Orleans sky.

Multi-vortex tornado crossing through the Lower 9th Ward, New Orleans East (Credit: WVUE viewer Brad Cheramie)

Widespread damage was reported in St. Bernard Parish. Drone video the following morning captured the extent of the devastation.

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