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New Orleans teacher on tornado: ‘something we’ve never seen’

CHICAGO (NewsNation) — New Orleans’ bout with Hurricane Katrina was one of the worst national disasters in U.S. history, as it’s the third strongest hurricane ever recorded to make landfall in the U.S.

But after a Tuesday night tornado struck the Crescent City, one history teacher — whose neighborhood was directly in the storm’s path and who lived through 2005’s tragedy — says that infamous date has met it’s match.

“This was something that we’ve never seen in this neighborhood — a tornado of this magnitude. It was a terrifying experience,” Chris Dier said Wednesday night on “The Donlon Report.”

Dier is a history teacher who lives and has taught in St. Bernard Parish — a neighborhood only five miles from downtown New Orleans.

According to the National Weather Service, the damage to Arabi —  a census-designated place in St. Bernard Parish— was caused by a tornado of at least EF-3 strength, meaning it had winds of 158-206 mph (254-332 km/h).

The dead included Connor Lambert, 25, in St. Bernard Parish.

“I open my door just to look then I started to see things flying up, so I hurried up, shut the door and I ran and took cover,” Dier said.

Luckily, Dier’s home was safe.

“It hit the street adjacent — right next to me — so I didn’t get too much damage,” Dier said before adding that he is still without power.

What’s even more devastating, Dier tells the program, is that the area is a working class suburb now forced to relive the the outcome of Hurricane Katrina. Additionally, a lot of the homes left intact Tuesday were renovated after Katrina.

“When this happened, it reminded us all of those dark days in 2005,” Dier says. “We came out and we went through the neighborhoods, and everyone seemed like we were we were ready to just help one another, just like we did in 2005 after Katrina. The parallels are very similar,” Dire continued.

Hurricane or tornado, according to Dier, the warmth of togetherness has been just as consistent as the weather’s severity.

“It’s community that has stuck together and for a long time and it seems like now we’re going to rebuild again, just like we did after Hurricane Katrina,” he said.


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