Louisiana Chef Among the 8 Dead as ‘Super Fog’ Swept Across New Orleans

By: Lauren Wurth | Published: Nov 04, 2023

Monday, October 23rd was a sad day for people in New Orleans, as eight people were killed as a result of a ‘super fog’. The fatal fog was caused by a combination of marsh fires and dense morning fog.

The aftermath was a series of car wrecks near New Orleans on Interstate 55. Across the highway were damaged and charred vehicles.

Authorities Warned About an Uptick in Casualties

According to the Louisiana State Police, about 158 vehicles were affected, and 25 people were injured.

A pile-up of several severely burned vehicles, with several firefighters observing the wreckage

Source: MRA10cya/X

They also warned that the number of fatalities could increase as first responders work around the clock looking for victims and trying to understand the true extent of the damage.


The Fog Left Motorists Stuck and Helpless

The super fog caused extremely low visibility, and as a result, vehicles collided into each other and were engulfed in a huge inferno.

A foggy view of a highway with several trucks and cars held up in traffic

Source: fimmaworld/X

Thankfully, some drivers were able to escape the flames on time and were soon on the side of the road or on the roofs of their cars. All they could do was watch in utter shock as the disaster unfolded.

Eyewitnesses Shared Their Experience

Eyewitness Clarencia Patterson Reed recounted the terrible experience to news stations. She said she was driving with her wife and niece to Hammond on Interstate 55 that morning as the fog thickened.

Foggy view of the bridge from a lower point with cars ablaze and a rising cloud of black smoke

Source: theSDPadresFan/X

She managed to avoid hitting the car in front of her, but the vehicles behind her weren’t so lucky as they couldn’t stop early enough, and they ended up running into her. “It was ‘Boom. Boom.’ All you kept hearing was crashing for at least 30 minutes,” Reed said.

The Woman Was Lucky to Escape Unharmed

Clarencia got out of the car, but her wife, Lisa Patterson Reed, was stuck in the vehicle and sustained injuries on her leg and her torso. Once she managed to escape, Clarencia and other drivers on the highway watched as two 18-wheelers went up in flames.

An aerial view of a wreckage including a burned Walmart truck, with police officers and firefighters working their way around it

Source: LondonGlossyMag/X

“We’re grateful because we’re alive. We’re here to tell you what we see up here because some people will not get that chance. It’s bad,” Reed said in a Facebook Live feed.

Facebook Users Got to See Some Extent of the Damage

In the video, she spoke with another woman who was stuck in her car, but was pulled out. The camera also showed a vehicle that crashed underneath a pickup truck.

A hooded person sitting on the road divider with a burnt 18-wheeler, a fire truck and other vehicles in view

Source: Truckers/Facebook

Meanwhile, other motorists couldn’t make it out of their cars, and they just sat patiently waiting for the authorities to come help.


Another Eyewitness Also Recounted the Chain of Events

Christopher Coll was another motorist on the scene. According to him, he was slamming on the brakes when another pickup truck rammed into him. The force of the impact pushed Coll’s trailer towards the pile-up.

A close-up view of the wreckage, with three firefighters in the midst of the damaged vehicles

Source: Truckers/Facebook

He too was able to escape by kicking his passenger door open, and he tried to help others to safety as well. “I’ve never seen anything like this before. It was horrible. It was the worst wreck I’ve ever seen,” Coll said.


Evaluating the Damage and Providing First Aid

Authorities said that the 25 people who had sustained injuries were rushed to the hospital for immediate care, while other people sought to tend to their injuries on their own.

A couple of emergency staff observing the wreckage after the fire was put out

Source: Truckers/Facebook

Authorities are yet to make an official statement about the number of fatalities, but according to Reed, she had seen about two people dead inside a box truck that had crashed beneath a flatbed trailer. She also said that first responders had told her and her wife that at least five people had perished in the crashes.


The State Officials Quickly Swung Into Action

In a speech addressing the unfortunate event, the governor of Louisiana, John Bel Edwards, encouraged people to pray for those affected and requested blood donors to help boost the supplies at the blood bank.

A towing truck on the I-55 bridge with a partly burned semi-truck

Source: StarAdvertiser/X

By 2 p.m. that Monday, the police had put out the vehicle fires and begun working on evacuating the vehicles on the interstate. The state police also got help from the St. John Parish Sheriff’s Office, the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office, the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, and Kenner Police.


The Police Also Shared Pictures of the Multiple Crashes

Louisiana State Police took to their Facebook page to share several aerial images showing the extent of the pile-up.

An aerial view of the fiery accident on I-55

Source: Truckers/Facebook

The images showed crashed vehicles and multiple damages on both lanes of the interstate. As a result of the multiple crashes, there was a pile-up of traffic for miles on both southbound and northbound lanes of I-55.


Moving Forward

State troopers notified the families of the people affected by the incident and commenced an investigation into the exact reason the crashes had happened. They also coordinated with the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development to conduct an inspection of the bridge.

An aerial view of I-55 while the bridge was being inspected.

Source: GritHoldings/X

The super fog also prompted authorities to close parts of I-10 and the 24-mile Lake Pontchartrain Causeway at intervals.


The Super Fog Could Return

According to the National Weather Service, there are several wetland fires in the area. These fires had created so much smoke which mixed with the morning fog to create a super fog.

An image of a foggy highway

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Although the visibility got better as the fog lifted, the Weather Service cautioned that in the coming days, similar dangerous conditions could return.