Recovery and clean-up efforts are underway for many residents in Ville Platte from tornado damage Sunday morning.

One family we met today believe their faith saved them amidst the tornado damage in Evangeline Parish.

John Briley, a Ville Platte resident who suffered property damage in the weather, said, “Lightning struck. The tree was there. The sky lit up again. The tree was gone. I looked this way and I saw it.” 

News 10 asked, “Did you immediately know it was a tornado?” 

Briley responded, “Oh, with that, yeah. The way everything was spinning. Yeah.” 

John Briley and his wife, Angela, have lived in their home for 16 years. When Sunday’s storm hit, three of their trees fell to the ground… but one thing remained, intact.

Angela Briley explained, “That’s St. Francis, and I really think he guided these trees away from our house, and I really think he protected us because he’s still sitting like this in the tree when we got up yesterday morning.” 

A statue of St. Francis stayed where it was in the tree even though the tree came tumbling down.

“He was still here just as you see him, and I really think the size of these trees, it would’ve crushed the back end of my house where my bedroom is so I really think he guided these three massive trees away from my house and protected us,” added Angela Briley.

The Briley’s have had the statue of St. Francis for almost 20 years.

“I think this is a message for Ville Platte to waken up and people need to come together as a family and a group and a lot of people have done that, but I think this will bring a lot of people closer and they need to turn to their faith,” said Angela Briley.

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