NEW ORLEANS – More than ten thousand people from Haiti now live in the New Orleans area.
They've been watched helplessly as Hurricane Matthew battered their Caribbean nation.
"That's my hometown," said Elianne Charles, a Haitian now living in Gretna. "You see all the cars are underwater. You see my house, it's all underwater."
Charles described home video sent to her as Matthew brought life-threatening winds, rains and storm surge to her hometown of Baraderes on Haiti's southwestern peninsula.
"I cried, I just come down on my knees to pray," Charles said. "I said Lord, please give people in Haiti a chance."
The dangerous Category 4 storm hit Haiti Tuesday morning with 145 mile per hour sustained winds.
Charles is worried there won't be much left after the hurricane passes.
"All the houses, gone, animals, everything gone," Charles said. "I don't know how they can do, live right now."
Haitian Honorary Consul in New Orleans, Dr. Sylvain Francois hopes the damage won't be as bad as predicted.
"Haiti is an island," Francois said. "It's protected by nothing except for a few mountains. This kind of stuff that they're talking about, it really can be disastrous."
The storm knocked out internet and phone service for much of Haiti. That leaves Haitians in New Orleans in the dark about the status of their loved ones.
"My grandmother is from that area," Charles' daughter Ashley Azemar said. "I don't know if she is in the city, like in the capital or if she evacuated. I don't know if she stayed in that house."
It could be a while before the full extent of the hurricane damage on Haiti is known.
"We need help," Charles said. "We need attention, people to see the situation we are in right now."
Landslides and downed trees on roadways were preventing movement in numerous areas.
(© 2017 WWL)