Friends of St. Paul renovating 142 year-old Bayou Goula church

Staff Writer
Plaquemine Post South
The Friends of St. Paul Church are restoring the 142-year-old church in Bayou Goula that lost its steeple during Hurricane Gustav. 
PHOTO/Peter Silas Pasqua

BAYOU GOULA – A preservation group was back to work restoring a 142 year-old church on the day after Christmas.

Friends of St. Paul Church was incorporated on Dec. 21, 2009 by a group of area residents interested in preserving the historic building.

The church lost its steeple during Hurricane Gustav and the group has since raised money by making birdhouses from the wood of it.

"We're trying to restore it," Friends of St. Paul's Mike Guillot said. "I have always loved old properties and buildings and it just would have been a shame to tear this down."

Friends of St. Paul Church, Inc. is a non-profit, non-denominational, non-partisan organization whose primary purpose is to restore the physical structure, maintain the historical quality and preserve the ability to use the building for the local community.

The group purchased the church from the Catholic Diocese for $6,000, turning down a $100,000 offer from a private buyer.

The church is currently being leveled before restoration begins. Grave markers from the 1800's were discovered when old steps were removed.

St. Paul Church is the last physical resource of the Catholic heritage trail in the village of Bayou Goula.

Generations of families have practiced their faith in one of the churches in the Bayou Goula area over the past 162 years.

St. Paul Church began in 1870 when Governor Paul Octave Hebert donated land for a church in the commercial district of Bayou Goula. Additional land was purchased from the Murrell family. The church was built in 1871 and in 1894, the St. Paul Church Corporation was formed and purchased St. Paul Church and St. Raphael Church and Cemetery properties from the Archbishop in 1896.

Donations are currently being accepted to aid in the restoration and can be mailed to Friends of St Paul Church, P.O. Box 1481, Plaquemine, La. 70765.

Upon restoration, the building will be rented out for weddings and such to any denomination.