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Tornadoes hit New Orleans

Fri., Feb. 3, 2006

NEW ORLEANS – It was bad enough when Rose Christina’s home was ravaged by Hurricane Katrina.

But when a tornado blew through Thursday, tearing off the home’s roof and stripping it to the bare studs, she was rethinking her earlier decision to stick it out and rebuild.

“Sell it and move,” Christina advised a neighbor whose home also was damaged. “It’s a sign from God.”

Two tornadoes ripped through neighborhoods already hit hard by Katrina just five months earlier, battering the airport and knocking down utility poles and a radio tower. No serious injuries were reported, but weary residents couldn’t help but ask what else they would have to endure.

“Don’t ever ask the question, ‘What else could happen?’ ” said Marcia Paul Leone, a mortgage banker who was surveying the new damage to her Katrina-flooded home.

Electricity was knocked out for most of the morning at Louis Armstrong International Airport, grounding passenger flights and leaving travelers to wait in a dimly lit terminal powered by generators. The storm also ripped off part of a concourse roof, slammed one jetway into another, and flipped motorized runway luggage carts.

“There’s more damage to the terminal than I saw during the hurricane,” airport spokeswoman Michelle Duffourc said.

The line of severe thunderstorms moved across the area several hours before dawn. Tim Destri, of the National Weather Service, said it appeared the damage was caused by two tornadoes, one that hit the airport and another that moved into New Orleans.

The storm collapsed at least one house in New Orleans’ hurricane-ravaged lakefront, police said.

“I cannot believe this. We were hit twice. It’s not bad enough we got 11 feet of water,” said Maria Kay Chetta, a city grants manager.


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