Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Bayou Pigeon Heritage - Moving the Community Forward - Announcement # 4 of 4

 Bayou  Pigeon Heritage - Moving  the Community Forward -  Replacing  Roof on the Heritage Hall 

Bayou Pigeon  Heritage  friends:


During the early discussions between BPHA and the Diocese of BTR  and A. Wilbert’s sons  about our organization taking over the complex  for adaptive  use. There was hesitancy around, whether the new Heritage  association would be able to sustain  and maintain the old St. Joan of Arc complex. . 

After all, one reason the  site was being abandoned  it was very  costly to maintain. The  condition of the complex / structures  at the time of our negotiations was exacerbated  by years of deferred maintenance  because of cost.

The Activity Center  / gym was thought not to be in un-useable  condition and estimates by the Iberville Parish Inspectors to fix  was over 200k, if you replaced the  HVAC. 

It was pointed out the church  was in need of a new roof, a costly expense >25K  . There were several leaks in  the church in times of heavy rains.  

We agreed, we made the case in the discussions  we well understood that  the high cost of the deferred maintenance by the church parish would catch up with  the buildings sooner than later.

In South La. most asphalt shingle roofs  last 15 to 16  years, the roof  on the church was 20 years, we thought we  would have a little more time to plan  for the replacement. 

We did not anticipate  that Covid 19, Grand River  Flooding of 2021 would put the Association  in start / stop mode on fundraising and  that two Hurricane's would hit us back to back in a week.

Hurricaine  Ida & Nicholas.

Hurricane  Ida  and Nicholas caused  some damage to BPHA structures.  but people say … there is  a silver lining in anything …

The  Association  structures got by  without major damage but had enough damage that we thought we  could file a legitimate claim to repair our  roof on  our Heritage Hall.  

The  Association   filed  an insurance claim  with our Insurance  agency. Our agent immediately went to bat  for us and our damage claims were inspected promptly.  

The inspector  agreed  that our Heritage Hall roof  needed replacement, as repairing part of the  roof was not feasible, too many missing tabs. 

After seeing the damage on Heritage Hall the  Inspector  checked out the Pavilion and House  on the same visit and determined there was damage there as  well..

We are happy to report we  will be getting a new roof on our HERITAGE HALL, the PAVILLION and  parts of the HOUSE.  At essentially no cost to us.

Thank You  to our agent, Dayna Hargrove  LeGrange of Mohragency.  It is helpful to know your agent, personally.

BPHA Shrine  room - Our Lady  Queen of Peace  

As Believers, we know Our Lady Queen of Peace  lives  in and walks these grounds and did not want it to rain in our Chapel.

For the next 20 - 30 + years this is  something we will not have to worry about. ie.,  the  roof on Heritage Hall. 

Truly a God  send.

Moving  Bayou  Pigeon Forward ...  Nov. 14, 2021

Make our 2021 Fall Fest Bigger & Better than 2020

Become involved  with  BPHA !BPHA  What are you waiting  for?

1. Becoming a member is the best way to support Bayou Pigeon community / economic  development.

2. You will get an opportunity to contribute to something meaningful bigger than yourself.

3. You will be building new opportunities  for the children.

4. To have a deeper connection  with neighbors, cousins and past residents.

Dans ton coeur tu es un Cajun

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Moving The Community Forward - BPHA

 Bayou  Pigeon Heritage - Moving  the Community Forward - Special Announcement

 # 3 of 4 

Agreement on  proposed  Park  for Bayou  Pigeon 

The Iberville Parish Parks & Recreation and  A. Wilbert's Sons LLC in conjunction with The Bayou  Pigeon Heritage  Association,  have reached an agreement on a proposed Park / Playground on The Bayou  Pigeon Heritage Complex.

The  Heritage  Association would like  to commend & recognize  the yeoman's job by Ms. Chasity Berthelot Easley, Iberville Parish Council Woman  District 2 (including Bayou Pigeon), BPHA Board Member  and  daughter of Mr. McCurley Berthelot Jr. & Sandra  Allemands lifelong residents of Bayou  Pigeon,  pushing  for and facilitating  negotiations between the 3 groups. Without her perseverance on getting  something for Bayou  Pigeon this  would not have happened.

Remember the Parish originally turned  down  the opportunity to take over the complex  from the Diocese of BTR.

Thanks to Iberville Parish President Mitchell Ourso for coming to the table  to support the only Cajun community in  Iberville Parish.

The agreement consist of:

1. A.  Wilbert’s &  Sons LLC has given permission to IPRD to build a  Playground / Park on the  Bayou  Pigeon Heritage site, as they are the landowner.

2. The BPHA agrees to let 4 acres of their current lease to be taken over by the IPRD and A.  Wilbert’s &  Sons LLC will issue  a  new Lease to IPRD.

3. The BPHA lease is modified  to contain the 4 acres, ie, from Hwy 75 frontage to include Front Ball Field, Heritage Hall, The Pavilion, The  3 Bedroom Brick Home and Activity Center / Gym 

4. IPRD will  improve the road / entrance to the new park  and maintain that facility. The BPHA will continue  to maintain their  facility.

The BPHA believes  the new park  will highlight / increase the use our Event Venues and provide overall economic development  not only  for Bayou Pigeon but to all Iberville parish as  well.  

By keeping them in Iberville Parish instead of going other places.

Plan: Proposed park at Bayou Pigeon.

Moving the Community Forward

What is the takeaway  from  this message … motivated  people  can move Bayou  Pigeon Forward.

For all the  doubting  Thomas's!  Who thought there was not enough interest in converting  the old church to a new adaptive purpose.  

Iberville Parish Leadership and the BPHA  have proven we are committed  to moving  the BAYOU  PIGEON COMMUNITY FORWARD.

If you were waiting for  a sign...  to see if we were going successful ...this is it !!

Become a part of improving Bayou  Pigeon...Join our successful organization, enjoy the Facilities.

What are you waiting  for? 

 Membership Form

You can help by volunteering  and coming  out and  supporting  our Annual Fall fest.


'Moving the  Community Forward', we will have another posting # 4 of 4  tomorrow, stay tuned.


Monday, October 25, 2021

Atchafalaya National Heritage Area Grant 2021 for BPHA - Supplemental Information

Atchafalaya National Heritage  Area-  2021 Grant Application – Supplemental Information

BPHA Heritage Hall Project Executive Summary

To: ANHA Trace Commission

1. Background:

1A. In 2017, the Diocese of Baton Rouge announced the closure of St. Joan of Arc Church Parish at Bayou Pigeon. A. Wilbert Son’s owned the land but did not want the structures. As per the lease agreement, the structures would need to be demolished and the land returned to green space, destroying a major gathering place for the Bayou Pigeon Community. 

1B. In 2019, community members gathered and created the Bayou Pigeon Heritage Association, a non-profit 501(c)3 committed to preserving, and promoting awareness and appreciation for the Cajun, French-speaking community of Bayou Pigeon. The BPHA stepped in, and the Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge donated all structures, and a new lease was struck for $1 through 2028. 

1C. The former church became the main Heritage Hall, and the land / complex is conveniently located between Morgan City and Baton Rouge on a route often taken by I-10 and LA-1 travelers looking to avoid traffic. 

1D. The current Heritage Hall features exhibits on the history and lifeways of the people who grew up in the Atchafalaya Basin. Expansion plans include renovation and addition of first-class restroom facilities. A place where the Bayou Pigeon community can then host meetings and events to raise funds for preserving of the Atchafalaya swamp culture and folklife. Where visitors can learn more about this once-isolated Cajun community. 

1E. Other Expansion plans include renovating an existing activity center with a research library to preserve written and oral histories (specifically the Cajun French language), smaller meeting spaces and a museum with folklife examples of Atchafalaya Basin boats, fishing equipment and folklife. 

2 Projected Future Impact 

2A. With these updated facilities, the location can serve as an ecotourism-based enterprise for enhancing the local economy. Providing a venue to host visitors, tourist, and other NGO’s with a facility with actual visuals of cultural preservation of the Atchafalaya Heritage area. 

2B. The Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge essentially abandoned the St. Joan of Arc Church Parish at Bayou Pigeon, which had been the single most recognizable landmark and cultural center in the community for over 70 years. The Bayou Pigeon Heritage Association aims to save this community cultural center and expand it to share our story with other Atchafalaya communities. 

2C. The main impact is community revitalization. Efforts of the BPHA will help preserve the Louisiana French language still spoken in the community and share the Bayou Pigeon story with visitors and residents alike. 

2D. Expanding our existing activity center with a research library and oral histories (specifically the Cajun French language), smaller meeting spaces and a museum with folklife examples eg., Atchafalaya Basin boats, fishing equipment and folklife. Will provide children of South west Iberville Parish "Down The bayou", a cultural enrichment program, focusing on local culture that is familiar to both students and their families. Special programs, guest speakers, and presentations related to the Atchafalya Basin will interest students and get them excited about school and learning. 

2e. The area will also serve as an economic driver for this rural community, as area business and restaurants may have the opportunity to promote their businesses through fliers or brochures stationed at the Heritage Hall for visitors to look at and take. They may also be able to participate as vendors at events held at the Heritage Hall. 

2F. Additionally, as the Hall is situated right on the bayou, it may serve as a great location for Phase II of Atchafalaya NHA’s Water Heritage Trail. 

2G. BPHA is also partnering with the Iberville Parish Recreation Department to renovate the park on-site for visitor and community children to use. The complex is also used by the community for baseball practices.

2H. The BPHA is already impacting the community positively – In 2020 community members use our Heritage Hall for private events and community activities, such as kids movie night, Halloween "Boo on the Bayou", Christmas Santa Claus pictures, funeral and wakes and wedding receptions. Activities that would be enhanced with larger bathroom facilities 

2I. Civil Defense  site:   Used by Parish Government  for medi-vac site.  In April / May 2021 the Iberville parish government used the sight for flood sandbagging / disaster relief activities. The BPHA hosted private companies cooking and distributing meals for Flood Victims and relief workers. 

3. Strategic Planning 

3A. For 2021, BPHA is working toward a fully-functional Heritage Hall as a driver rest stop and community event space. 

3B. To become a fully-functional upscale venue would require a project that would entail renovation to expand our one bathroom in our Heritage Hall to expand to be able to accommodate events of greater than 250 people. 

3C. The improvements and upgrade will expand our existing activity center with facilities for humanities focus that will feature the Atchafalaya Basin culture of the south Iberville area. This will allow our young people to explore the many aspects of the unique culture and way of life in the Atchafalaya region. 

3D. The improvements and upgrades will make the facility fully-functional and attractive for users and visitors. 

3E. Likewise, I 10 travelers, East & West  stopping  at Iberville Parish welcome center at Grosse Tete LA would be enticed  to experience real authentic Cajun Swamp community and adventure.The  BPHA center complex is exactly halfway between and would become a natural   stopping point  for people looking for a break  and clean restrooms. 

Stopping at  the BPHA complex with exhibits  would be a great opportunity for residents and visitors alike to learn more about the ANHA and establish a sense of place.

3F - Eastern Gateway to Atchafalaya  Basin

The Northbound traffic to Baton Rouge from Morgan city  via LA. HWY 1 is often bottle necked  at several locations going north. For that reason,  many travelers from St. Mary Parish and lower St. Martin to LSU, use the route through Stephenville and Belle River, Bayou Pigeon to I – 10 at Grosse Tete. 

What started  as Idea:

Is now a Reality:

Our Heritage Hall  is a walking historical tour of Bayou  Pigeon, from  1812 – present day. Landscape, Places People Remember, Military Honor Roll, Pictorial Essay. The wall displays highlight the local people and their resilience of people to make a living  off the resources of the swamp. People relate to seeing information about their ancestors. 

The only thing missing  is adequate bathrooms for events / visitors.

Moving The Community Forward BPHA Face Book Posting 2 of 4 -10 25 2021

 Press Release : Bayou  Pigeon Heritage  Association 

The Atchafalaya National Heritage Area Competitive Grants Applications process   a once a year process. Opened May 1, 2021. The  applications  had to be submitted  to Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser and the Atchafalaya National Heritage commission by May 31, 2021.  

The Board of Directors  agreed to apply  for a grant  to convert the old  'Sacristy' area our Heritage  Hall with modern restroom and install a Kitchenette. With a very short cycle time to get application  done and submitted, we had to move fast. Our team met the challenge.

Logic for prioritizing this project:

1. It was necessary  to do remodel the Sacristy area of the former church  and enlarge the  single Bathroom  to be able  to meet Dept. of Health  Standards required  to host 'Event Venue' for up to 250 people.

2. Installing a  small kitchenette area, with  sink, refrigerator , microwave oven  for heating  food , not  heaving cooking. This  would make the facility more attractive  for larger events.

3. Replacing  / repairing  2  exterior  doors  and hardware as needed that were leaking at thresholds.

The project Application had to demonstrate  support  for the Mission of the Atchafalaya National Heritage Area through cultural, recreational or natural resource preservation and enhancement. This where the historical documentation and folklife wall displays of the Heritage Hall came into the equation.

See the file in the  comment section for executive  summary of our Application.

On July 12, we were notified  that we were one of the projected  selected. 

We have recently received  / reviewed the architects  design drawings.  We plan to start on the renovation, after our  Now. 14 Fall fest.

Anyone who wants to help with initial demolition of the Sacristy area, can contact, Randy LaPrairie or Rick Phillips.

This is matching grant, which we have put up 1/2 of the  $30,000  needed to complete the project.  Which includes labor, materials and appliances. 

Everyone can help by coming  out  and  supporting  our FALL fest  and  wild Game cook off so we can ensure  we have the matching funds  and complete this project ASAP.

'Moving the  Community Forward', we will have another posting on something new...  tomorrow.

What are you waiting  for... come join our organization.

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Moving the Community Forward

 A Message To Our Members and Followers …

Moving  the  Community Forward

There is a reason this  building is  still standing; it means something to the people of Bayou  Pigeon. 

Community members  came together and saved the former St Joan of  Arc church and complex from being bull dozed and plowed under to become green fields.

Starting Oct. 26, 2021 we will be making 3 separate facebook  postings  on the Bayou  Pigeon Heritage Facebook page outlining and explaining   the good things that are happening in our Association thus bringing all our  members  and Facebook followers, up to Date. 

In this day and era, will be using social media, to communicate / update the  community on how the BPHA is moving the community forward.    Please look  for it  and read them.  you should be impressed, no kidding!

The purpose of doing this  will be  to motivate our BPHA Facebook followers, over 700 strong to join the BPHA if you have not already done so.   If you are not  up to date  recommit.  And  to come out and support our major  fund raiser of the year.

Almost  since the inception of the BPHA we have been in a start / stop mode, as a result of  Covid 19 Pandemic, 2021 Lower  Grand  River Flooding, and Hurricane Ida and Nicholas.  

Despite these ‘Acts of God’,  Bayou  Pigeon Heritage is moving  forward, 

This is possible due to a core group Native Bayou Pigeon  folks  and people of Iberville Parish that value Bayou Pigeon and culture and folklife, volunteering and doing the  work.

At this time, we would be remiss if did not recognize one of those parish residents  for his effort, Mr. Chris Daigle, BPHA president.  

Chris, even though he is not a resident  or native of  Bayou  Pigeon he  has done yeomans  job of keeping the BPHA moving  forward. He is Iberville Parish  School Board Member, IPRD Board Member, and White Castle, LA. business owner. 

Chris is a BPHA life member and  in the last two years has put in a lot personal time and money into our organization.  Above  and Beyond and the call of duty.

On Nov. 14, 2021, we  will be having our 2nd  Annual  Fall Fest / Wild Game  Cook Off.

Our major  fund raiser  for the year ... We could use all the help we can get...

Did  you know … research data has documented that…. Fundraising

80% of Americans believe it’s essential for people to come together in person to achieve  success.
71% of Americans agree that attending live events makes them feel more connected to other people, the community, and the world around them. A sentiment that has increased since 2014 (66%).
70% of American men and women agree that attending a live event has been more successful at expanding their perspective than just reading about a topic online.
84% of people believe that live events  inspire positive change for an organization / community.
73% of young people  consider attending an live event a form of expression.
By involving  prospective givers into the middle of the action, you put color to your cause.
Finally,  success in  areas of the common local life are strengthened through having access to live local events.

What is the takeaway  from  this message … 

The BPHA  has proven we are moving BAYOU  PIGEON FORWARD.

What are you waiting for ? 

Join our successful organization, enjoy the Facilities, and  support our 2nd Annual fall Fest.

Contact Patty Phillips 225 776 1706
Chris  Settoon 225 776 3616
Chris Daigle 225 776 4122
Cliff LeGrange 225 776 2686

To volunteer