Joplin Photos

Before you look any farther, I’ll tell you . . these pictures are depressing!  And they’re  not great . . they were taken through my car windows.  We didn’t get out and walk around.  I saw no need to get in the way of the workers so we did what we came to do — ate sushi, passed out quilts, Chad saw the doctor — and we left.

I’ve seen my share of damage from hurricanes in Louisiana, Texas and Florida and when we lived in Kentucky, there were a couple of F3 tornadoes in our town and in the Newburgh, Indiana area.  Even after seeing pictures of Joplin in the news and on the internet, in my wildest dreams, I could not have imagined what it looked like in real life.  The damage is massive!  It goes for miles and miles.  Seeing the complete destruction and thinking of those folks who emerged from wherever they managed to survive, and seeing the total devastation around them, and having no cars and no roads that were clear, no cell phones, no electricity, not having a clue which way to start walking with nightfall approaching, I absolutely cannot even comprehend what it must have been like.  Even trying to be as optimistic as I possibly can, I cannot imagine how they are going to clean up and rebuild Joplin.  They’re saying they will and I hope they do but it’s going to be a massive undertaking.

As I began to look for people who may have lost everything, this is what I was finding.  There’s just nothing left so the people aren’t there.

In the photo below, St. John’s Hospital can be seen in the background.

You have to wonder where these people went to ride out the storm.

There were vehicles like this all over Joplin.  I wondered if the storm deposited them in their current locations, if the drivers were trying to get out of the storm and were blown off the road  . . was the red pickup driving down this road and just blown off the road or did it come from two streets over . . who knows?  There are so many destroyed vehicles sitting everywhere.

Seeing St. John’s Hospital and thinking of the patients who were there because they were sick or hurting, and their families not being able to find out what happened to them when the storm hit . . I cannot comprehend it all.  Up close, there were mini-blinds flapping in the breeze through some of the broken windows.  The hospital is now all fenced off with guards manning the gates and they’re probably getting ready to start the demolition and then rebuild.  What a huge job and the city so much needs that hospital back up and running.

Below is the strip mall where JoAnn’s Fabrics was located.  From the back, it looks way worse than from the front.  It’s amazing that people were in JoAnn’s and I believe they all survived.

Macadoodles was a huge liquor store/gas station.  They had the biggest selection and a wine tasting room .. the workers there were so nice.  Now, there’s the back wall standing.  It’s been cleaned up but you can see the gas pumps are gone, the entire store is gone except that back wall.

We spent way too much time at Academy on our trips to Joplin.  Vince and Chad both loved that store.

In some areas, all you can see is destruction and devastation for as far as you can see.  For what seems like miles and miles, home after home . . destroyed.  And look at the trees!  Will Joplin ever have trees again?

There are good things happening in Joplin.  From what I hear, looting and mischief has been minimal.  There are so many relief organizations and volunteers there.  In fact, there’s a big blinking sign at the exit to the MSSU campus that says “Volunteers Exit Here and go to the MSSU campus!”  There were huge trucks/vans there from Samaritan’s Purse, Convoy of Hope, Red Cross and probably others that I didn’t happen to run across.  So many insurance companies have mobile offices set up and there were tons of insurance adjuster vehicles around town.  The help that’s already arrived in Joplin, and that continues to come there is truly amazing but the job is so huge!

They have trash trucks that kinda look like huge, long dumpsters and there are two attached to each cab.  They were everywhere!  The landfill is about 35 miles north of Joplin and there was a steady stream of those trucks loaded to the top, headed to the landfill and the empty trucks were headed back to Joplin.  They’re working hard but there’s so much to do!  It’s now been a bit over three weeks since the tornado hit and it took a few days to get their plan into action.  The city leaders, as well as the state leaders and the President, have been optimistic but I’ll be darned surprised if it isn’t years and years and years before Joplin is back to any resemblance of it’s former status.

Please continue to pray for the people in Joplin.  From my point of view, it was hard to find much hope and optimism there and I can’t imagine what it’s like for those who have faced this every day for over three weeks now.



  1. 1


    WOW – what horrible devastation! It reminds me of the Northridge (CA) earthquake years ago – the pictures we took were unbelievable! And here we are talking about one broken glass! We should be ashamed of ourselves!

  2. 3

    Tina says

    It will take time, and much of what was lost will never be found again (photos, family heirlooms, etc.). However, lots of people are there to help, and everything that will be rebuilt will be rebuilt to modern building standards. You asked for a do-over this morning; Joplin gets a collossal do-over. Your generosity and prayers will help with the task ahead. Step by step, Joplin will be rebuilt. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other.

  3. 4

    Linda in NE says

    I don’t think any of us who haven’t seen damage like that in person can even imagine what it’s like. It WILL take years to get the city back to some kind of normal. Who knows about the trees. Some may survive, others will have to be removed and replanted. Getting big trees back will take a long time.

    And if they have to wait for Federal money it can take even longer. Two bridges south of here (the direct route & the semi-direct route to the next town) washed out in a flood in June 2010. Since then traffic has to go either 5 mi. west or 6 mi. east, then south, then backtrack. Our two schools have had sports together this past year, and this coming fall will be totally consolidated. Just last week it was announced in the newspaper that the one bridge (directly south of here) MIGHT be ready to use by the time school starts in 2012. NOT the coming school year, but the following one. Why? The county can’t afford it, the state won’t afford it, so they’re waiting for FEMA money…MAYBE. And the bureaucracy is incredible. In the meantime the average taxpayer needing to go back and forth is burning a lot of expensive gas and spending a lot of extra time on the road.

  4. 6


    Expect to see miles of slabs for a long time. When the OKC area was hit with the F-5 in 1999, the path went across I 35 in Moore. You can still see slabs where people decided not to rebuild.

    I hope that the big stores opt to rebuild in Joplin. That will help with jobs and morale.

  5. 7


    We have yet to go over to Joplin. Staying away until we have a reason to be there. And I’m not looking forward to seeing it all up close and personal.

    Greensburg, KS did an amazing job of rebuilding but it still presents a strange feeling when you drive through. Mostly because the mature trees are gone and everything looks like it was just dropped down in the middlee of nowhere. It will take years for it to develop the look of a mature community. Much of Joplin will be the same, unfortunately.
    I too pray that most businesses will rebuild. The economic hit to the area is going to be huge.

  6. 8


    Dear Judy,

    My husband and I were just talking about Joplin again yesterday and all the devastation that has taken place. We have also marveled as to what people do when they have lost everything. Like you said…which direction do I even walk toward? My heart and prayers go out to them.

    You are a kind soul to take the quilts and distribute them to those in need.

    God bless you and your mission.

  7. 10

    Alma says

    Thanks to people like you, Judy, 12 people have some joy in their heart today that was not there 2 days ago. No one can ease the suffering of all, but you did so much good collecting donations and giving out the quilts.
    The world needs more Judy Laquidaras.

  8. 12

    Pat in Washington says

    Don’t sell your photography skills short! The pictures were good enough to see plenty of detail about the devastation. I’m glad you had the idea of taking quilts and money there – the right idea at the right time!

  9. 13

    Sara in AL says

    They are still cleaning up here from the April 27th tornados. The city and county governments in Birmingham argued over who would pay for the clean-up for weeks after the storms. They almost argued too long and missed FEMA’s deadline. (They were paying a large part, the locals only had to pay part.)

    A friend of my Uncle’s went out to check on his cows after the tornado passed through Rainsville. His cows were peacefully grazing, but there was an SUV sitting smack in the middle of the pasture. It was intact with only a cracked windshield. Amazing.

  10. 14

    Katie says

    I remember driving through Louisianna, Mississippi, and Alabama two years after Katrina, and even though there had been great progress made, you could still see and get a sense of the devastation. It will be years – many of them – but I believe with the help of the American people, Joplin will survive and be stronger than ever.

  11. 15

    Louise says

    We saw the same type thing here in North Alabama on April 27th. Most of North Alabama was affected by the tornadoes that ripped through here that day and we remained without power for almost a week. Even if you didn’t have actual damage to your property there was no power, no gas due to no power, no stores open until generators were set up, if you didn’t have cash you couldn’t get cash and that is all the stores could take. We were under curfew until power was restored. The damaged areas will take years to recover. We were so very blessed that more people were not killed during all of the storms that have devistated all of the southern states this year.

  12. 16

    Bonnie says

    My heart goes out to those so badly affected in Joplin. Three weeks is a very short time, yet here we see nothing more on the news so thank you for posting the photos. I “survived” the Northridge earthquake, residing only a mile from the epicenter at the time. I lived in a mobile home – it split in two at the marriage line of the roof – I’d joke that I now had a 48′ long skylight. The effected people will have not just the loss of the worldly possessions, but will have to deal with the struggles of getting contractors, permits, supplies and all that which goes with attempts to rebuild – and that’s only AFTER they get, hopefully, adequate funding through their insurances if they had, hopefully FEMA (were they brought in?), and as in my case, SBA loan because the afore-mentioned ‘coverages’ were lacking. The emotional toll can be painful for years if not a lifetime. Lives lost, permanent injuries, and the mental ‘psyche’ from going through the sheer terror of the tornado. Even now, I still jump and my heart thumps at sudden loud bangs or feeling a building shudder and I know I’d be in far worse shape if I didn’t believe that the Lord is sovereign over all things and that in life, we sometimes are asked to go through some very difficult things, and through those trials, He makes us stronger and has a better purpose for us.