Feb 23, 2014 8:48 PM by Akeam Ashford
Dangerous straight-line winds swept through Cajun Field, destroying at least 12 Krewe de Rio floats, and leaving one worker injured.
The National Weather service is not calling this a tornado, but says, straight-line winds are capable of reaching up to 40 to 50 miles-per-hour.
Holding on for dear life, Devante Leopaul and his friends say things quickly went from bad to worse.
Straight-line winds pushed a nearby float into the men's work truck, pinning Leopaul's fingers between the two. That moment left a lasting impression he says he'll never forget.
"The first thing that came to my mind was my daughter. I was like Lord just let me get through this to make one last phone call. Just to call her. It was just crazy," LeoPaul said.
The winds were so strong, Leopaul was carried more than 50-yards in the air, dropping him in another field.
"All I remember is rolling through the field. I was looking for my friends, but they were no where to be found. You couldn't see anything. You couldn't see your hand in front of you," Leopaul added.
According to University of Louisiana Police Sergeant Billy Abrams, the outdoor track and field mat and the Cajun Dome indoor practice facility fence were also damaged. Abrams was caught in the storm as well.
"I couldn't really see. I tried to seek shelter, but I couldn't go anywhere. The vehicle actually started rocking, but I couldn't see," Abrams said.
Krewe of Rio Governor Blane Comeaux said the governor's float was the only float completely destroyed.
"We had one of our floats travel as far as about 400 yards all the way to the baseball field. That's quite a ways away," Comeaux said.
A once in a lifetime experience, Leopaul and his friends says they are blessed to have survived.
"I would never want to go through it again. Let's just put it like that. I would never want to go through it again," Leopaul added.
Comeaux says crews will fix any damage to the floats, making sure they are structurally safe for next weekend's Krewe of Bonaparte parade.
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