Video: Mere weeks after devastating tornado, neighbor-aided cleanup puts Convent RV park back in business _lowres

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- Cleanup begins at Sugar Hill RV Park in Convent on March 1, 2016, after a devastating tornado struckk the area.

A St. James Parish RV park ravaged by a tornado last month is rounding into shape after steady cleanup work over about a week’s time.

Mark Anderson, owner of Sugar Hill RV Parks in Convent, shot this video of his 27-acre park off River Road Tuesday afternoon and says he will be ready to start receiving tenants late this week or early next week.

Anderson, who also narrates the video, said many of his former tenants who lost RVs or travel trailers in the tornado Feb. 23 are buying new campers and preparing to move back in.

“Most all of them that are able to, have wanted the same spot back, so I mean four or five dozen want the same spot back. That’s that great, you know?” Anderson said Wednesday morning.

The EF-3 tornado had winds of 140 mph and was one of a record 12 that hit Louisiana last month as part of a powerful storm front. Two people were killed and 31 injured when the tornado, which also hit Paincourtville, tore through the park.

St. James Parish officials have said that 61 mobile homes were damaged and 123 were destroyed in the tornado. Most had been in the RV park.

Last week, Anderson had a few workers hauling destroyed trailers to the unused rear portion of his park. Then, starting over the weekend, he said he paid anyone who wanted to work $10 per hour to clean up the remaining mess Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.

He said many of the people who came to work — on at least one day, they numbered well over 100 — were Convent-area residents also affected by the tornado.

Anderson added that Entergy begin hooking up power Tuesday.

He said the damaged trailers remain in the rear of the park and will be removed at a later date.

Follow David J. Mitchell on Twitter @NewsieDave.