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Family in West Feliciana restores family graveyard torn apart in storm

1 month 2 weeks 3 days ago Thursday, April 11 2024 Apr 11, 2024 April 11, 2024 10:40 PM April 11, 2024 in News
Source: WBRZ

WEST FELICIANA - Ninety mph winds caused significant damage across West Feliciana Parish earlier this week.

At Pat's Home Center, customers shuffled in and out all day with flashlights in hand. The hardware store lost power during Wednesday's EF-1 tornado. A day later with the lights still off, employees kept the doors open.

Employee Denise Dickey says her goal is to help their community rebuild, after the tornado tore away so much. 

"We've been clicking right along, trying to help the folks out and do what we can for them," Dickey said.

More than 3,000 people like customer Sherrel Johnson still don't have power in their homes, but Johnson says she's lucky that's all she lost.

"To say that I'm out of power is a major inconvenience, but I could have lost my life yesterday," Johnson said.

Johnson says that while her home was spared from physical wind damage, her family is facing another tragedy. Just down the road in Spillman, Johnson said her family's cemetery was damaged, debris strewn across the yard.

"I was not mentally prepared for what I saw yesterday," she said.

Minor Town Cemetery dates back to the early 1800s. Hamp Williams said he knows most of the people buried in the cemetery, pointing out his dad's grave with a tree collapsed on top. He was there Thursday assisting with the clean-up.

"We've never had anything like this," Williams said as he walked between the graves, avoiding broken branches and loose tree roots.

Despite the devastation, Johnson, a breast cancer survivor, says she's not ready to give up on her family and community. 

"We have to help each other, all we have is each other," Johnson said.

Folks in West Feliciana and across the state are still in the beginning stages of clean-up and restoration after Wednesday's storm. For a list of ways to help click here.

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