St. James family battered by tornado but grateful to be alive

St. James family battered by tornado but grateful to be alive

CONVENT, LA (WVUE) - The images of the damaged gutted homes, rippled metal and twisted cars can't do justice to the weight of the disaster wrought by Tuesday's tornado in St. James Parish.

"I don't even know how to explain," said Connie Guedry. "The wind got real, real loud, and the camper - the RV just started moving. And then all of a sudden I lost count. It rolled about seven times, things were flying, I got pinned, I felt like I was being buried alive, actually."

"It went from there, flew all the way across, hit the camper and flew that way," said Connie's husband, Joe.

The Guedrys were tossed across the Convent RV park from lot to lot as their daughter was thrown in the opposite direction. As catastrophe quickly turned to chaos, and Guedry had one thing on her mind - her family

"I was hollering for Joe, and I was hollering for my daughter, Mandy, and nobody answered, nobody responded," Connie said. "I was trying to get out from where I was and Joe, bless his heart, he came and dug his way out and came and got me."

"All that was going through my mind was her, got to the hospital, I cussed everyone out," Joe said.

"He did not want to be checked out until I was fine," Connie said.

It's that raw emotion that has consumed all of the victims in Convent.

Joe and Connie eventually found their daughter – battered - with six broken ribs and a broken shoulder. But she was alive.

"By the time we got out, I was standing in all of the middle of the junk and it was raining, and once I got my daughter and the three of us stood side by side, there were so much people hollering and screaming and looking for people that were unaccounted for," Connie said.

On Wednesday as the Guedrys tried to find something – anything - to hold on to, it was clear their mementos were destroyed. A life built over years and lost in an instant, but a family still whole.

"All I can say is that we came out alive, even with injuries, by the grace of God," Connie said. "We did a lot of praying and thanking God. We lost everything, we have no home, no clothes, no transportation, but we're here and we're thankful for it."

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