Remembering April 25, 2019: A deadly tornado rips through Ruston

Pictured is the Ruston hotel destroyed when an EF3 tornado tore through the city in the early-morning hours of April 25, 2019. (Photos by T. SCOTT BOATRIGHT/LPJ)

By T. Scott Boatright

On Sunday, Ruston remembered the second anniversary of the day a deadly tornado ripped through parts of the city and Louisiana Tech University, taking two lives and leaving millions of dollars of damage in its wake.

Today, much of the damage is gone. Slight scars still remain, and the city skyline and treeline, especially looking southward from Interstate 20, changed dramatically after the storm hit.

Progress has been made. But reimbursement funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency hasn’t, at least not a majority of it.

The city has received some funding, like a recent $1.2 reimbursement for electrical system repair expenses.

FEMA approved all of the city’s requests for tornado reimbursement in late 2020. Now the wait comes from Baton Rouge, where the funding is audited by the state before being sent to the entities in need.

The city of Ruston is not alone in its wait. Lincoln Parish is also waiting for a little more than $200,000 that was approved for removal of debris left behind by the tornado.

Mayor Ronny Walker and the city of Ruston are also waiting to work out an agreement with FEMA on what a $3 million hazard mitigation grant that was awarded to the city following the tornado.

April 25, 2019 will never be forgotten in Ruston. But the city and parish have moved forward in the wake of that devastating strike. Following is a pictorial look back at the damage and some of the repairs that have been made as the city and Louisiana Tech continues looking toward the future.

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