Baton Rouge, LA Tornado, Jul 1891
At the penitentiary after the passing of the wind the scene was heartrending. A mass of brick and heavy wooden beams covered scores of human beings, whose cries and groans were most sickening. Relief came promptly. The fire alarm brought the entire department to the scene, and the uninjured convicts worked with strained vigor to rescue the entombed living and bring out the lacerated bodies of the dead. Forty prisoners were at work in the jeans factory when the crash came. Of these six were killed and twenty-one wounded. In the hospital were twenty sick men. Four were instantly killed and fourteen badly wounded. A pouring rain followed the storm, and yet the workers labored manfully, and from the pile of mortar and the mound of brick the bodies were steadily excavated, until by 9 o'clock the full extent of the fatalities was known.
The tugboat Smoky City, belonging to Pittsburg, was lying at her moorings five miles below Baton Rouge, at the time of the storm. She was swept out into the river and her top works literally torn to pieces. Only one man was drowned, but several of her crew were badly injured. They were rescued by the steamboat Alto and carried to Baton Rouge.
Shade trees on many of the streets were uprooted. The southern portion of the city, styled "Catfishtown" suffered great loss and damage of property. In that section of the city several persons were seriously hurt and bruised by flying timber from falling houses and fences. The drug store of B. A. DAY was completely demolished and gutted of its contents, the loss amounting to $5,000. Several of the small grocery stores and stall shops in that vicinity were destroyed. The brickyard of GARIG, REDDY & CO. was badly damaged.
The cyclone did not make a straight sweep through the city, but would strike the ground and bound forward like a bouncing ball, and pass over several houses at a time and descending again tear its way for hundreds of feet. The trunks of massive oaks were popped off like pipe stems. So sudden was the storm that a number of bread carts, express and other vehicles were caught and wrecked in the streets, and it departed as suddenly as it came.
The Cranbury Press New Jersey 1891-07-10