Storm Celler

                                    TORNADO - The  Storm of 1933

               

          P2927 The Storm of 1933 Compliments of LSU Archives & Special Collections, 1 University Pl., S'port, La.

          

There were once two people who lived that were very near and dear to me. I rented an apartment from them on the corner of Constable and Marshall Street in Minden. Mrs. Madge Day Floyd and Walter C. Floyd Sr. kept my daughter for me while I worked. She called them Mam Maw and Pap Paw Floyd.

                                                      The Storm Cellar

Even though the floor was made of dirt there was not one speck of dust to be found on the furniture in Mrs. Floyd's storm cellar. There was a corner table with a table with a battery radio on top. She had two straight back chairs and a cot. I also remember seeing extra batteries, needle, thread,  band-aids, pencils and other items that might be useful in an emergency.  The The storm cellar was located just behind the back door. A door opened on top of the ground to allow access to the room underground. It was well made and always spotless. When the clouds were severe and threatening, I would sometimes hear a knock on my door and the Floyd's would hurriedly lead us to the storm cellar in our night clothes.

                                                    The Killer Tornado

One night she told me about the May 1, 1933 killer tornado that hit Minden around four o'clock in the afternoon when a huge cloud swooped down on the East side of Dorcheat Bayou. Buildings were shattered , homes were destroyed and damaged before the storm was finished. 

        

                

                  P2583 Minden Tornado, 1933 PA2927 Compliments of LSU Archives & Special Collections

                 1 University Plaza, Shreveport, La.

It was while we were in the storm cellar that she told me about her little girl that was buried in the old Minden City Cemetery near Bayou Ave. In my opinion Mr. & Mrs. Floyd were the finest people I have ever met. My daughter and I loved them very much. Today, they are sleeping in section E  of the Minden City Cemetery.

WALTER C. FLOYD, La.Sup Sgt 359 Inf 90 Div WW1, born 04 Sept. 1891 died 26 1962.

MADGE DAY  FLOYD born 18 Dec. 1905 died 13 May, 1971

The May 1, 1933 storm was estimated to be in strength of F-4 or F-5 and began it's damage along Bayou Avenue, just west of the railroad tracks leaving a path of destruction across the city. The official death toll was twenty-eight but some were just taken to the cemetery and buried in unmarked graves. The reported injuries were in the hundred's. Those who died in the storm of May 1, 1933 were:

David W. Cook, age 68, a Homer Rd. resident,  who was interred in a rural cemetery located in Bienville Parish, Louisiana.

Gwendolyn Haynes 11 - a guest at a birthday party, she is buried in Shongaloo.

Julia Mae Tinnell 11 - the guest of honor at the birthday party and her little sister, Kathryn Tinnell, 7 buried in unmarked graves in the Tinnell plot in the "new" section" of the Minden cemetery.

Buried in unmarked graves in the Bistineau Bapt. Church Cemetery are six graves:

                Mrs. G. L. McCollum
                Lee Earl McCollum 6
                Elsie Rae McCollum 10
                Bertha Reeves 30
                Cecil Reeves
                Sechem "Sambo" Reeves 10

These six victims were all killed in the same house on Bayou Avenue just past the railroad tracks. The two families were related and the McCollums ran next door for shelter in the house where the Reeves lived. The house the McCollums left was not damaged and the Reeves house proved fatal to all inside except for one son, Elvis McCollum, who survived. These six victims had joint funerals at Bistineau Baptist Church.

Ms. S.A. Owens, 40 was buried in the Macedonia Cemetery, Macedonia.

Mrs. Stella Phillips Wilkins - daughter of former Sheriff A. H. "Hutch" Phillips, she was a 30-year old teacher at Minden High School. She was in her home when she heard the storm and ran outside where a tree fell on her, crushing her chest. She died on Thursday, May 4 and was buried in the Minden Cemetery.

Minden City Cemetery - Section C Stella PHILLIPS Wilkins 20 Jan. 1900.

The number of black deaths is probably at least two times the total reported which was sixteen. One of the victims had been cooking supper and ran outside the house, like Mrs. Wilkins. She was decapitated by a piece of tin. The other reported sixteen deaths were blacks. The May 1, 1933 tornado in Louisiana's history has been recorded as the most deadly in Louisiana's history with 1.3 million dollars in damage with 28 people killed and 400 injured. 500 homes were damaged or destroyed. The tornado reportedly sounded like "mad lions or a Loud speeding train".

                                

                            The patch of weeds  below is a photo of what was once the storm cellar.

            

                          This was once the home of Mr. & Mrs. W. C. "Punk" Floyd