Pointe Coupee: Woman loses everything after tornado destroys home

“It’s a total loss. I have nothing, It’s just terrible. And I didn’t see anything. I didn’t see stuff flying. I don’t know if I had my eyes closed or I was just in fear.”

Nearly one week after a tornado ripped through two trailers in Ventress, one owner says she is still trying to recover from losing everything that night.

“You just feel like one piece to the puzzle is missing and you can’t put it back,” said 62-year-old Mary Hotard.

A strong line of storms moved through the area on Jan. 24 that brought an EF-1 tornado with winds estimated around 90 miles per hour, according to the National Weather Service.

The storm destroyed Hotard’s trailer, along with her neighbor’s in the Morel Trailer Park. Hotard said when the storm hit, she was in the home with her friend who has been living with her for the last five years

“I started hearing a bunch of noises,” Hotard recalled. “I heard everything but I didn’t see anything. I don’t know if I closed my eyes. I can’t remember all of it, you know? Everything was just gone and I was hanging on to something. And I told my brother, I said, ‘Man, my fingers are killing me.’ I said, ‘They’re all scratched up’ and he said, ‘That’s not scratches’ and he said ‘You were holding on to something hot.’ I said, ‘Wow, I never felt any heat on my hand’.”

After the storm, Hotard went to stay with her brother in Baton Rouge, who lives 45 minutes from her current job in New Roads. Along with the hassle of getting to work, Hotard is also dealing with the picture of a home that she’s lived in being turned into a pile of rubble.

“It’s a total loss. I have nothing,” she said. “It’s just terrible. And I didn’t see anything. I didn’t see stuff flying. I don’t know if I had my eyes closed or I was just in fear.”

To help Hotard financially, her sister Karen Chapman created a GoFundMe to help get money to get her sister another mobile home to live in.

Hotard said the last week has been understandably rough.

“It’s been total stress,” she said. “Stress and anxiety. You don’t feel relaxed. Even at work, I don’t feel relaxed.”

She said she’s had conversations with her neighbor about the bad luck that struck them when the storm hit.

“We talk about that. How it just hit us, like really just our two trailers,” she said. “The one across the street got flipped but nobody’s lived in that for I don’t know how long. “We said wow, that’s weird. It only hit our two trailers and that’s it. We don’t understand it and I guess we’ll never understand it.”

Hotard gave a few words of advice and her lived experience.

“When news people are telling you about warnings and to take caution, listen to them,” she said. “People always blow things off like it’s not going to happen to you and that’s exactly what we thought and it did.”

Information for anyone who wants to donate

  • Pants size 18
  • Shoe Size 9
  • Tops XXL
  • Needs sheets, towels, pj’s and furniture
  • Men’s pants 32-32
  • Tops- Men’s small
  • Shoe size 9
  • socks

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