Madisonville landmark damaged by tornado

Madisonville landmark damaged by tornado

MADISONVILLE, LA (WVUE) - For the past three days, North Shore residents have been driving by to get a  look at the crumbled remains of a place that holds many fond memories.

The site at the end of Lake Road was badly damaged by one of Tuesday's tornadoes. Since the 1950s, it has stood as a place where residents would while away many a summer afternoon.

"It was awesome, it was good to have it," said Ponchatoula resident Walter Thompson.

Madisonville's  covered boat launch offered shelter on sweltering afternoons, and the memories linger.

"We used to fish off of it, climb up to the top, jump off off it, everyone in town would do that," said Madisonville Mayor Pro Tem Mark Badeaux.
Tuesday's tornado changed all that.

"Someone called me, and thought it was down - it's a landmark," said longtime Madisonville Mayor Peter Gitz as he  surveyed the scene Tuesday. He reminisced about a structure that he said stood for 60 years, surviving many hurricanes.

"It had a little repair after Betsy, some after Andrew. Part of the roof came off and we fixed it. It went through Katrina," said Gitz.

While Tuesday's tornado can be blamed for much of the damage, some longtime residents said they saw this coming.

"You could see the pilings were torn up under the water. We knew it was only a matter of time," said Thompson.

Town leaders now consider what's next.

"That's being determined as we speak. There's a lot of things that has to be done first," Badeaux said.

Things like a new breakwater extending out in the lake to replace one that's eroded away over the years, making the boat launch more vulnerable.

"Some work done on a breakwater to protect this whole area, maybe designs for improvement to increase its recreational use," said Badeaux.

That could tie in with the old Madisonville lighthouse and serve as an area attraction.

"Right now it's a good time to make a plan," said Badeaux.

While Tuesday's tornado destroyed the old boat dock cover, it did minimal damage in other parts of Madisonville.  A nearby health club sustained minor damage, and a home had some of it's siding torn off.

Copyright 2016 WVUE. All rights reserved.