The Mind of Matt

Since 1961

Katrina Lite

Cerise Avenue, the street I grew up on, in 2012.

The neighborhood I grew up in, the setting of Grunch Road, has been through a lot since I was a kid. My earliest childhood memories were of surveying the damage and picking up the pieces after Hurricane Betsy in 1965. More recently, it took an even more severe beating — and a good soaking — from Hurricane Katrina. They’re still rebuilding after that one. Last time I went by my old house in November 2014, they were just getting started on it!

They might as well not have bothered, because now the gods have given them the finger again. Not the whole city like last time, just my old neighborhood. On Tuesday, a monster EF3 tornado cut a swath of destruction 2½ miles long and 600 feet wide right through the heart of the neighborhood I grew up in. Jim summoned me to the living room when the news broke on MSNBC, and I immediately recognized the location they were live from. It was Bundy Road, three blocks east of Cerise Avenue, the street I lived on for the first twenty years of my life. (The reporter confirmed my suspicions when he mentioned where they were.) The video looked like Katrina all over again, this time without the “bathtub ring.” Or, as one of my Facebook peeps from The East called it, “Katrina Lite.”

Photo Credit: National Weather Service

Here’s what my old stomping grounds look like looking north from Chef Menteur Highway (U.S. Hwy 90).

This shows what a close call it was for my childhood, which pretty much happened almost completely within this picture..

The path of the tornado above is my approximation based on the video I’ve seen and my memories of the ’hood. By my calculations (please stop laughing, every math teacher I’ve ever had) the vortex missed my childhood home by about 600 feet. Too close!

I had my own tornado experience back in 2011, when an EF0 cut right through the condominiums I live in.

Tornado damage at Cedar Trails Condominiums.

That was nothing compared to what the old neighborhood endured. The neighborhood had already gone downhill before this. Now for many, 11½ years of rebuilding is literally gone with the wind. Back to square one.

But then again, this is New Orleans we’re talking about. Hold their beer.

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