By Message Staff
NEW ORLEANS – A tornado that touched down in the eastern part of New Orleans Tuesday, Feb. 7, has destroyed Suburban Baptist Church.
One of several tornadoes to strike cities in Louisiana, the tornado destroyed the Louisiana Baptist church. Stephanie Friend told the Baptist Message she and her husband, Suburban Pastor Jeffery Friend, were not injured, though their home was heavily damaged.
“Praising God for lives spared!!,” Friend posted on her Facebook page. “Devastated at the loss of our church and our home!! Always trusting the one who holds my heart!! Thank you Jesus for your grace and mercy!!!”
New Orleans Baptist Association said they are providing a room for the Friends at Providence House, the hotel operated by New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.
“Please join us in prayer for churches and families affected by the severe weather in our region today,” the association said in an e-mail. “Early reports tell of severe damage to at least one church, Suburban Baptist, and several homes in New Orleans East. As soon as we have more information regarding damages and the response of Southern Baptist Disaster Relief, we will communicate requests, as well as material, ministerial, and volunteer needs via e-mail and on our website.”
Louisiana Baptists state Disaster Relief Director Gibbie McMillan said he and others will begin assessing the situation in the coming days before activating any teams to assist in the recovery. McMillan plans to post a page where donations can be accepted.
“We can pray,” McMillan said. “We know there will be a need for teams and resources soon to help with the situation.”
Louisiana was hit hard Tuesday with severe weather. The National Weather Service received reports of tornado touchdowns in Donaldsonville, Killian, New Orleans East and Ponchatoula.
At 2:15 p.m. Tuesday, more than 10,000 Entergy New Orleans customers were without power due to the tornadoes.
According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, several hospitals treated individuals with injuries related to the tornado. New Orleans East Hospital treated six, University Medical Center treated five and St. Bernard Hospital treated four people.
WBRZ-TV in Baton Rouge reported at least two people were injured after a tornado came through Killian.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has declared a State of Emergency for much of southeastern Louisiana, including Ascension, Livingston, Orleans, St. James, St. Tammany and Tangipahoa parishes.
“I am heartbroken to once again see Louisiana families suffering in the wake of devastating tornadoes today,” Edwards said in a news release. “We are working tirelessly to ensure that every citizen affected by this storm receives the resources they need as quickly as possible.”