Community comes together with one goal: Clean up the aftermath of a tornado

A visit with Jim Rhodes, Chairman of the Cane River Waterway Commission.

Organizations in Natchitoches Parish joined forces to help clean up the aftermath of a confirmed EF-2 tornado that blew through the Natchez area on the evening of Jan. 22. The Cane River Waterway Commission reached out after an emergency meeting it held Jan. 24 to declare an emergency on Cane River Lake. The Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office sent inmates to clean up debris along the bank and deputies took a boat in the water to perform a sonar scan. There was no hazardous debris under the surface of the water and Cane River was reopened to boating traffic.

The Parish Government sent one of its trucks to haul off the materials strewn around the homes on Hwy. 494. The City volunteered an excavation machine and manpower to remove heavy debris along the riverbank. Some areas were too steep for the machine to reach, so the CRWC hired a private contractor to finish the work. According to the CRWC Chairman Jim Rhodes, the work is expected to be finished Jan. 26.

“It was a joint effort,” said Rhodes. “It’s a really good feeling to see everyone come together to help our citizens and clean things up in an effort to do what it takes to get someone’s life back to as close to normal as if can be.”

Rhodes was referring to Howard Johnson Jr., whose trailer flipped over while he was asleep inside. Rhodes said he was thankful that there were people to help him.

“Everyone that came out to help were their neighbors and that’s what neighbors are supposed to do,” said Rhodes.