Vicksburg family picking up pieces after tree topples home during Hurricane Ida

Published 3:23 pm Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Vicksburg, as a whole, fared well as Hurricane Ida made its way north across Louisiana and Mississippi, but one local family still found their lives changed by the storm.

Shannon Montes said she owes her life to two things: her 8-year-old son and the children’s movie, “The Lorax.” On the morning of Aug. 30, with school canceled and the entire family at home, Montes’s son asked her to watch “The Lorax” with him before she began work at 7:30 a.m.

“At 7:20 a.m., I was setting up my workstation at work, because we were all teleworking due to the storm,” she said. “Where my desk is, where I was working, was where the tree was first impacted and it fell the length of my home.”

The tree fell at 7:25 a.m. Montes and her son were in the living room, and her husband and 11-year-old daughter were asleep in the far end of their home, located on East Drive. As her husband and daughter ran from the home, Montes found herself and her son covered in drywall, but thankfully, she said they sustained only minor injuries from the impact.

As the drywall fell, I put my arm up to shield my son, and he hid under his blanket,” she said.

It’s a sad chapter for the family and what Montes described as their “forever home.” The single-story ranch-style home was built in 1977 and had been completely gutted and remodeled, and the Montes family moved in a little over a year-and-a-half ago. Montes is an active-duty member of the U.S. Army, and her husband is an Army veteran.

“This was our forever home; we were going to retire here,” Montes said. “I’m optimistic that we can rebuild.”

The family is currently staying at a Vicksburg hotel while they sort out insurance and begin the rebuilding process, but Montes said they are looking for a rental property.

For now, though, she’s thanking her neighbors for their help in the immediate aftermath of the disaster, and most of all, her son.

My 8-year-old saved my life. If he hadn’t called me into the living room, I’d be unconscious or dead,” she said.

Those who would like to offer assistance to the Montes family can contact Shannon at Shannon.Montes2@gmail.com.