Wednesday, October 27, 2021
Tuesday, October 26, 2021
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
ALLONS AU PIGEON
Monday, October 25, 2021
Atchafalaya National Heritage Area- 2021 Grant Application – Supplemental Information
BPHA Heritage Hall Project Executive Summary
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:
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.