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Marrero couple loses 57-year-old home in tornado, now staying in JP temporary trailer

It's one of 30 trailers brought in this weekend for renters or homeowners in Jefferson Parish who do not have insurance to cover the cost of temporary housing.

NEW ORLEANS — Families in Jefferson Parish who can't stay in their homes after Wednesday's tornadoes started moving into temporary travel trailers in Bayou Segnette State Park Sunday.

Robert Sanchez and his wife, June Olano Sanchez, lost their Marrero home of 57 years in the tornado.

"It happened just so suddenly, you know, you hear lights clicking, lights went off and on, and then the water came all over my body, and the roof was gone," June Olano Sanchez said.

Now their memories of the last 57 years are scattered across the shell of a home that's left.

"I couldn't find my income tax papers, couldn't find my passport, couldn't find any of my gifts that were under the Christmas tree," Sanchez said.

They were home with one of their adult daughters when the EF 2 tornado ripped through the Westbank of Jefferson Parish. Despite the extensive devastation, they were all able to walk out alive with only a few bruises.

"I say it’s by the grace of God, really," Sanchez said.

Sunday, the couple was given a temporary travel trailer to stay in at Bayou Segnette State Park until they figure out what's next.

"It's a dry roof over our head," Sanchez said.

It's one of 30 trailers brought in this weekend for renters or homeowners in Jefferson Parish who do not have insurance to cover the cost of temporary housing needed due to the tornado.

"Even through the night, our teams were here installing them and winterizing them since we have winter weather later this week," said Sarah Babcock, Chief Administrative Assistant with Jefferson Parish.

"This is really big news for us that so quickly the state through the governor's office has been able to work with us and the lieutenant governor's office to get the trailers set up here," said Jefferson Parish President Cynthia Lee Sheng. "So actually today we have families who have unlivable homes because of the tornado, have a little more security here tonight."

As of Sunday afternoon, 14 of the available trailers were assigned. Jefferson Parish leaders will assess the need over the next few weeks, ordering more trailers from GOHSEP if needed.

Rental assistance will be available to anyone meeting income requirements. To qualify for either program, the home must have major damage from the tornado based on parish damage assessments.

In addition to these housing options, professional tarp installation on roofs with damage will be available to any homeowners who do not have insurance to cover this work.

To sign up for either temporary housing or tarp installation, visit www.JeffParish.net or call the Emergency Operations Center at 504-349-5360.

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