DONALDSONVILLE - Cell phone video captured the frightening tornado that crashed through Donaldsonville Tuesday morning. Residents who saw the twister close up said it looked like a cloud of dust and fire.
"It was a transformer blowing up, and when the transformer blew, it came and we ran in our shop," city employee Michael Henry said. "And when we were in our shop and got in our bathroom, the tornado came in five minutes. And in five minutes it was gone."
The tornado left behind a path of destruction. In the downtown area, homes were torn in half and roofs were ripped to shreds.
Tuesday night, residents like Clark Richard who lost an entire wall of his home, were still reeling from the experience.
"It was just like a rumbling sound, and it was coming over the house and I didn't know what it was. Thankfully God was with me," Richard said.
Governor John Bel Edwards circled the Donaldsonville area in a black hawk helicopter Tuesday afternoon as he toured storm damaged areas across the region.
Power crews on the ground continued to work into the night repairing downed lines. Up to 60 to 80 percent of Donaldsonville homes lost power Tuesday. The mayor, Leroy Sullivan, said he hoped to have power restored as soon as possible.
"Earlier they were saying 10:30 p.m. Tuesday night for most of Donaldsonville to be back with power. And we are hopeful even the hardest hit areas will have power tonight," Sullivan said.
At ground zero, the Red Cross was distributing water, food and helping some residents find a place to stay. Spokeswoman Nancy Malone said residents are leaning on each other for help.
"A lot of these families, because there is such an incredible network here, they are relying on one another," Malone said. "It's some basic things they need, that's why they're coming out and visiting with our team, and we're walking the neighborhoods."
First responders in the area had their work cut out for them Tuesday. With downed power lines and traffic lights not working, it created chaotic streets after a chaotic day.
"I thank God no one was seriously injured and there was no loss of life," Mayor Sullivan said. "The most challenging thing was making sure we assessed the area and made sure everyone was safe."
Residents like Richard were working with the Red Cross to find a place to sleep Tuesday night. While the devastation might have taken his home and countless possessions, Richard said he's counting his blessings.
"Just cant believe it, I just thank God I'm still alive," Richard said.