NWS confirms EF-1 tornado touched down in Livonia

LIVONIA, LA (WAFB) - Officials with the National Weather Service confirm that an EF-1 tornado touched down Sunday morning in Livonia.

The small town located in Pointe Coupee Parish experienced serious damage as a result of the tornado. The NWS says the path length of the tornado was one mile and it had estimated winds of 90 miles per hour.

Most notably, a church located just off Hwy. 190 took a major hit.

Pastor Freddie Rodrigue of Faith Baptist Church in Livonia says the rough winds and rain started around 6 a.m., before Sunday service, but one of his members was already at the fellowship hall cooking breakfast when she was caught in the eye of the storm.

"Water was coming into the building, the doors flew open," Rodrigue said.

Rodrigue says he rushed to the church as soon as the downpour passed and was shocked to find half of the church roof missing, pieces of tin wrapped around a tree and the broken brick column which tilted part of the roof line on the fellowship hall.

"Every building that we have here has been affected in some way," Rodrigue said.

That 80-year-old woman stuck in the fellowship hall came out unscathed, despite the wind moving fast enough to swipe a doorknob completely off of the building.

To that damage, the congregation replied, "we're down but we're not out."

There was just one thing untouched by the severe winds, the church sign, reading, "the world uses duct tape to fix everything, Jesus used nails."

While the members may be using both to repair the damage over the next few weeks, they're still counting their blessings.

"We know not why, but we know that God has a way of taking tragedies and turning them into blessings and that's what we saw this morning and that's why we had our service." Rodrigue said.

Copyright 2017 WAFB. All rights reserved.