Port Barre residents react to historic St. Mary Baptist Church destroyed by flames


Fire crews in Port Barre battled a blaze early Tuesday morning that broke out at the St. Mary Baptist Church.

According to Port Barre Assistant Police Chief Joby Thomassee, firefighters responded to the blaze around 2:30 a.m. in the 5000 block of LA-103 in Port Barre. 

No one was around when the fire broke out, Thomassee said.

Letha Hardy, a member of St. Mary’s Baptist Church for over 60 years, said, The morning it burnt, we went straight out there to support. that‘s our church and it’s been there a long time. 

Michael Landry, a Port Barre resident added, It makes me feel really awful that they lost their church. I’m just glad they didn’t have nobody in the church. 

That was the Lords home and lord Jesus. All we can do is pray. we‘re going to get us another home. Yes indeed, explained Hardy. 

Denis Andrus said, I go over there and I say the preacher is a good preacher and I love the way he preach and they got a lot of people that are involved in the church and they do wonderful things for the children and everybody so I hope everybody come out and support them and help them to rebuild. 

Residents say St. Mary’s was a well-attended Church. 

Our Church was a real religion church. no problem. we just get along like a big happy family. It was a lovely church, added Hardy. 

Robert, Hardy’s brother,  said, It hurts but there’s nothing we can do about it, but place it back again. 

While Hardy added, We’re going to place it back. 

Hardy says she has many memories in St. Mary’s.  

The good Lord (is) going to make a way. All we got to do is trust in Him. It’ll be all right. It’ll be all right.

Because firefighters were unable to determine how the fire started, they have asked the Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshal to assist in the investigation, he said. 

The church was built in the 1800’s, according to Thomassee, and is a well-established church in the community with lots of members.

The church was a complete loss, Thomasee said. 

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