Baker storm damage tallied

Advocate staff photo by JAMES MINTON -- Adrian Franklin cuts up the top of a hickory tree that snapped during Monday's tornado at the home of his friend, Terri Easterly, on South Magnolia Drive in Baker. Easterly said she normally parks her car where the treetop fell, but for some reason had it in another location that morning. Show caption
Advocate staff photo by JAMES MINTON -- Adrian Franklin cuts up the top of a hickory tree that snapped during Monday's tornado at the home of his friend, Terri Easterly, on South Magnolia Drive in Baker. Easterly said she normally parks her car where the treetop fell, but for some reason had it in another location that morning.

Monday’s tornado damaged at least 87 homes, outbuildings and commercial structures, according to a list compiled by city employees immediately after the storm.

The hardest-hit area in the city appeared to be tree-shaded residential areas on South Magnolia Drive and Cypress Drive on the west side of La. 19, a review of the city’s storm damage list shows.

The tornado, which came from the Alsen area of East Baton Rouge, crossed over La. 19 and went through several residential areas before exiting the city through its northeast quadrant.

Police officers and public works employees compiled the bulk of the damage reports, said Howard Ward, public information officer for the Baker Fire Department. Firefighters also documented some of the damage in responding to emergency calls, Ward said.

The employees also counted 48 uprooted or broken trees in residential areas along with numerous instances of downed power lines.

Mayor Harold Rideau said Entergy Corp. crews “did a tremendous job” in restoring the city’s power by about 7 p.m. Monday.

“I’ve got to hand it to them. They brought in a lot of people,” Rideau said.

Rideau said representatives of the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness visited the city Tuesday to assess the damage.

Rideau said he hopes the city can get some financial help in removing storm debris, which is piling up on city streets in the path of the tornado.

The amount of debris is above what the city’s garbage collection contractor, Allied Waste, would be expected to remove as part of its contract, Rideau said.

City officials also are warning residents to be aware of unscrupulous repairmen who may try to take advantage of a bad situation for their own gain, a news release says.

Residents who sustained losses are urged to ask for references, licenses and other credentials when approached by people offering to do repair work and never pay money up front before the work is done, the news release adds.

Anyone with questions can call the Baker Inspections Department at (225) 778-0850.