Bayou Pigeon Heritage Association

About the Bayou Pigeon
Heritage Association

The Diocese of Baton Rouge announced, Oct. 1, 2017 that St. Joan of Arc Parish (and its mission church St. Catherine Laboure) at Bayou Pigeon and Bayou Sorrell would cease functioning as a parish in the diocese as of November 24, 2017.

The decision was made with much consternation after several months of intense study, deliberation, and consultation with the then St. Joan of Arc's administrator, parish and finance councils, and its trustees.

On May 3, 2018, “The Bayou Pigeon, Spirit of the Atchafalaya” social
media web page was contacted through that site by a representative of A. Wilbert's LLC, the Landowner (lessee) holding the Lease agreement on the property and the structures

This contact was a final effort to determine if there was anyone from the Bayou Pigeon community interested in working to save this complex from demolition. Such that, A. Wilbert’s, LLC, did not have a use for or an interest in owning these buildings. The Lease agreement called for the property to be returned to original condition no longer than two years after the Church Parish was closed regardless of reasons.

It was beginning to look like entire complex would be have brought back to green fields by the Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge.

The Pigeon Face Book page has hundreds of followers who have a
recognizable connection to the Bayou Pigeon Community. There are land owners, engineers, doctors, attorneys, dentists, bankers, I.T. Specialists, teachers, business leaders, pharmacists, purchasing agents, real estate brokers, construction superintendents, carpenters, machinists, electricians, pipe fitters, millwrights, process operators, professional secretaries, musicians and last but not least professional fishermen. Many great people!

A series of open meetings was held seeking input and a path forward by the Web Page owner. A first group of founders stepped forward. This group was able to create a Corporation, the Bayou Pigeon Heritage Association.

<em>Bayou Pigeon Heritage AssociationThe community of Bayou Pigeon finds itself in an age of the Great Erosion where we are losing our community cohesiveness. Things that kept our close-knit Cajun community together. The closing of the St. Joan of Arc Parish church and complex would not only a have significant economic affect on the future of this unincorporated community but could be the death knell on the Cajun Culture and folklife of the community.

Thus, the founders group came together, held a series of organizational meetings and elected officers and a board of directors. Determined our mission and filed for 501c3 nonprofit organizational status.

<em>Bayou Pigeon Heritage AssociationThe organization reached official nonprofit status, Nov. 9, 2018, we hope with that accomplishment our founding members will consider an added gift and new membership and donors will reach 200 members before the end of 2019

By the end of August of 2019, our association hopes to have reach an agreement with the Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge to receive the structures on the on the property in an act of donation. Concurrent with that signing, A. Wilbert’s LLC will sign a new lease on the property with the association through 2028.

At that time, we will begin work on our mission.

The church buildings are not just brick and mortar. They are the single most important part of our once close-knit Cajun community.

The Bayou Pigeon Heritage Association group will have annual dues, solicit funds from other interested like-minded groups and individuals, hold fund raisers and host events that generate funds that qualify as exempt organizations under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or the corresponding section of any future federal tax code.

Monies from the first membership drive will be used to secure General Liability Insurance and Property insurance required for the initializing the lease agreement.

The Bayou Pigeon Heritage Association plans to, ASAP, (as funds allow) begin moving forward with initiatives to remodel the 5200 sq. ft church building into a Heritage Hall, with more bathroom Facilities.
First plans for the restoration, or the development of a religious / Chapel / prayer room inside the church open to the public from outside, separate from the rest of the interior of the church. Inside the Church building. The SHRINE OF OUR LADY, QUEEN OF PEACE, at Bayou Pigeon lasted 10 years, it was demolished in the year 2000, to make way for a new church.

Parts of the Shrine will be incorporated into the Chapel room.

<em>Bayou Pigeon Heritage Association

It is predicted that the Chapel room will become a landmark and tourist attraction for bayou pigeon.

It can be difficult to plan when you are focusing on getting started. Any master plan must consider what is important about a site, we believe the church building is the most important structure on our site.

It is our intention that the interior of Heritage Hall will be journey through modern history of Bayou Pigeon Cajun Swamp life.

A master plan is under construction by Licensed Architect and should  be ready before the end of 2019. That Plan will outline and plan  proper actions to keep and enhance the other structures on the site, i.e. parish activity center, Outside Pavilion and ball fields.

All future phases of development will made with our mission as our guiding star and always with full membership community input and
proper governmental approval if required.

Final word - Heritage preservation is an investment in our community that rewards us today and leaves an invaluable resource for future generations. Heritage preservation can be a draw to tourism and helps businesses attract customers. Our cultural heritage deserves the best care we can provide.

Heritage association play a vital role in protecting and preserving the story of our lives, history, and society.

Please join and become a friend of the Bayou Pigeon Heritage  Association. Use the web site contact us anytime about any question.

- Cliff LeGrange / Roy LeBlanc



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