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Red Cross Workers Bring Comfort Across Southeast Louisiana in Wake of Tornadoes

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American Red Cross disaster responders from across Louisiana have been mobilized to provide disaster relief and comfort to families in Southeast Louisiana following Tuesday’s tornadoes. The Red Cross is coordinating with city, parish and state officials to determine the exact needs of affected communities.

In the New Orleans area, an emergency shelter is open at Joe W. Brown Recreation Center (5601 Read Blvd., New Orleans) in coordination with the City of New Orleans and other partners. At the shelter, displaced families will receive meals, safe place to sleep and minor first aid, if needed. Trained health and mental health workers will be providing services to people at the shelters, including emotional support and replacing items like prescription medications and eyeglasses.

In multiple parishes across southeast Louisiana, Red Cross volunteers, including those in Red Cross emergency response vehicles, are connecting with residents in storm-damaged areas, providing support, including snacks and water.

“It’s heart-wrenching to see the destruction this storm has caused and that so many people have lost everything,” said Joshua Joachim, Red Cross chief executive in Louisiana. “Red Cross workers are here now, providing shelter, food and comfort, and we’ll be here in the days and weeks to come to help our neighbors begin to recover.”

24-Hour Emergency Shelter:

Joe W. Brown Recreation Center, 5601 Read Blvd., New Orleans, LA 70127

Anyone evacuating to a shelter should bring essential items for each member of the family:

  • Prescriptions and emergency medications
  • Foods that meet unusual dietary requirements
  • Identification to show residence is in affected area and important personal documents
  • Extra clothing, pillows, blankets, hygiene supplies and other comfort items
  • Supplies needed for children and infants, such as diapers, formula and toys
  • Special items for family members who are elderly or disabled
  • Chargers for any electronic devices you bring with you
  • Books, games and other ways to entertain your family and yourself
  • Public health regulations do not permit pets in shelters; service animals are permitted.

    As residents begin to clean up, the Red Cross encourages people to remember the following safety tips:


    Continue listening to local news or a NOAA Weather Radio for updated information and instructions.

    If you are away from home, return only when authorities say it is safe to do so.

  • Wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt and sturdy shoes when examining your walls, doors, staircases and windows for damage.
  • Watch out for fallen power lines or broken gas lines and report them to the utility company immediately.
  • Stay out of damaged buildings.
  • Use battery-powered flashlights when examining buildings – do NOT use candles.
  • If you smell gas or hear a blowing or hissing noise, open a window and get everyone out of the building quickly and call the gas company or fire department.
  • Take pictures of damage, both of the building and its contents, for insurance claims.
  • Use the telephone only for emergency calls.
  • Keep all your animals under your direct control.
  • Clean up spilled medications, bleaches, gasoline or other flammable liquids that could become a fire hazard.
  • Check for injuries. If you are trained, provide first aid to persons in need until emergency responders arrive.
  • “I’M SAFE”

    In an emergency, letting your loved ones know you are safe can bring them great peace of mind. The Red Cross can help you stay in touch with loved ones after a disaster. All of the Red Cross mobile apps feature an “I’m Safe” button that allows users to post a message to their social accounts, letting friends and family know they are out of harm’s way.


    When recovering from a disaster we can have a variety of reactions, all of which are common. Most of these reactions are temporary and will go away over time. Try to accept whatever reactions you may have. Look forward, one small step at a time, and focus on taking care of your needs and those of your friends and family.

    These reactions can include:

  • Feeling sad or lonely
  • Feeling overwhelmed or unable to plan daily activities
  • Feeling physically and mentally drained
  • Having difficulty making decisions or staying focused on tasks at hand
  • Becoming easily frustrated with daily tasks or with family and friends
  • Arguing more with those around us
  • Feeling tired, numb, or worried
  • Experiencing changes in appetite or sleep patterns
  • Increasing alcohol or substance use
  • Children can experience all of the reactions above, but they can also resume earlier behaviors (e.g., thumb-sucking or bedwetting or “acting out”)


    The Red Cross tornado app includes a high-pitched siren and warning alert that signals when a tornado warning has been issued, as well as an all-clear alert that lets users know when a tornado warning has expired or has been cancelled. The app also includes tips on how assemble an emergency kit for your family in the event of power outage or evacuation, an “I’m Safe” button to let loved ones know you are okay, and a map updated with locations of Red Cross shelters. The app includes a Spanish language toggle switch and can be downloaded by visiting


    At this time, the American Red Cross of Louisiana is fortunate to have volunteers who are trained, ready and willing to support our response to the flooding in our communities. We thank individuals and community groups who are willing to support this effort and encourage them to register to become new volunteers to help with future disaster responses. Learn more and register online at and complete the online application.


    All Red Cross disaster assistance is free, made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from the American people.

    Help people affected by disasters like the tornadoes and countless other crises by making a gift to American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. Visit, or call 1-800-REDCROSS. Financial gifts may also be sent to your local Red Cross chapter.

    For more updates, follow the Louisiana Region of the American Red Cross on Twitter at @ARCLousiana. You can also contact the region at or call 1-800-256-4733 or 1-800-REDCROSS.

    About the American Red Cross:

    The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.