City begins to pickup tornado debris in eastern New Orleans

RAW: Man happy to be alive despite massive damage

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - City Sanitation crews are now collecting debris in some of the hardest-hit areas of New Orleans East. Tornado victims say it is a welcoming sight.

For days now, tornado victims have worked to clear debris from their properties, but piles are mounting. In many cases it is a mixture of tree limbs, wood and personal belongings that were destroyed during the tornado.

Family members and friends of many victims pitched in to help. Some people said they are staying close by to continuously work on their property. They said getting this debris cleared will be the first step in the recovery process.

The city started debris collection on Friday. Crews came through cutting tree limbs away, clearing the roads and hauling away debris left on the curb. The crews will make three passes in the area in New Orleans East. The collection will take place for the next three weeks.

Chris Hall - tornado victim

"In order to start cleaning up we have to put everything out. First, we had to get all of the roofing nails and what not and then stop out of the house so we could operate and start cleaning up," said tornado victim Chris Hall. "In a perfect world, the city would've been out here already but when they come they are going to come."

The cleanup is important to help restore a sense of normalcy, although it will be a long time before life is back to normal.

"This is important because it's a nice neighborhood and it needs to get back clean like it was before, tornado victim George Joseph. "I think it's likely we are going to have to knock some of these houses down. I guess we're going to have to recover and come back "

The city says debris must be placed in front of the home between the sidewalk and curb. There are people in this neighborhood still living in their homes. Because of that, the city says regular garbage pickup will continue. Tornado victims those say they'll be happy when some of this debris is gone.

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