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Area church closing its doors after more than 100 years

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BAYOU PIGEON - The beginnings of St. Joan of Arc Parish Church in Bayou Pigeon can be traced all the way back to 1909, with services held in private homes.

The current chapel has only been around for 14 years.

"I tore the old one down. It broke my heart to tear it down," said Darrell Gaudet, a long-time parishioner. "I believe in God and I want this church to stay, but it's not going to happen."

Gaudet helped build the new chapel, and he's seen the membership decline. 

"We were 25 people yesterday. The week before that, we were 40. Before that, we were like 50."

Not only does the diocese cite the lack of active parishioners as reason for closing the church, it's also facing extreme financial difficulties.

"On a weekend, we may collect $400 and $200 in the steward fund. It's not enough to pay the electric bill and the $1,400 note we have to pay for the building fund," Gaudet said.

Joan of Arc's mission church in St. Catherine Laboure is also closing.

Residents around there say less than 15 people attend this church on a regular basis.

"You can't pay the bills if people don't show up for church."

And for Gaudet, it's more than a church closing it's doors.

"It's a part of me that's going to be gone... I 've been here years."

A history that dates back more than 100 years comes to an end on Nov. 24.


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