Group aims to preserve heritage of Bayou Pigeon

Staff Report

A community organization that celebrates and preserves a landmark on the southwest end of Iberville Parish now has a new lease on life.

Sale of fried catfish dinners was a highlight of the recent fundraiser presented by the Bayou Pigeon Heritage Association.
A yard sale also helped generate funds for the Bayou Pigeon Heritage Association.

Members of the Bayou Pigeon Heritage Association spent many hours in thought and discussion on how to support the organization. When the Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge closed, St. Joan of Arc Church generated funds through sales of dishes made with crawfish, a signature cuisine for Bayou Pigeon.

Now, the organization hopes it can save the church sanctuary from abandonment and demolition by the Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge.

The Bayou Pigeon Heritage Association – organized as a 501 c3 nonprofit organization, hopes to preserve and use the church complex for the preservation, promotion, perpetuation, education and enhancement of the past and present living histories, culture, heritage and folklife of Swamp Cajuns of Bayou Pigeon, Iberville Parish and Louisiana.

The association took a leap forward on its plans, even during an environment changed by a global pandemic, divisive political times and social media communication.

The Bayou Pigeon Heritage Association used that backdrop for its first major fundraiser, which included a community garage/craft sale, along with a fried fish dinner sale – an event the Board of Directors agreed it could hold outside and without controversy.

The event was an enormous success, according to organizers.

Event organizers, Chris Settoon, Patty Phillips, and Kristen Settoon and numerous helpers worked very hard to bring as many people from the local community into the event.

Over 15 different booths garage / crafts were available, and the fish fry dinners were prepared by a new generation of Cajun cooks.

The catalyst for the success comprised the ideal ingredient for success, and hopefully a promising future for the organization, according to Chris Daigle, president of the Bayou Pigeon Heritage Association.

“The ownership was in the hands of local people, and a new generation of workers,” he said.

Dean Deslatte of A. Wilbert’s LLC, landlord of the heritage, was impressed by the event when he visited to purchase dinners.

“The site looks great, and we’re very pleased at how things are progressing,” he said.

The event had much of the same atmosphere and support as the Bayou Pigeon church fairs, which had been a mainstay in Iberville Parish, said Sheriff Brett Stassi, who also attended the event.

“Everyone in the parish looks forward to the return of the Bayou Pigeon fairs,” he said.