Non-profit group begins restoration on 142-year old church

Mike Gulliot, Founder of 'Friends of St. Paul'
Mike Gulliot, Founder of 'Friends of St. Paul'

A group of people are back at work on the day after Christmas, restoring a 142-year-old church in Bayou Goula.

Mike Guillot, founder of a non-profit organization called Friends of St. Paul, decided the old church needed a new start. During Hurricane Gustav, the church lost its steeple. The group raised money by making bird houses out of the wood from the steeple.

"We got involved and bought it, and now we're trying to restore it," said Guillot, "I've always been a lover of old properties and old buildings, and it just would have been a shame to tear this down."

Guillot's group purchased the church from the Catholic Diocese for $6,000, turning down a $100,000 offer from a private buyer. But getting money has been a difficult task.

Guillot commented, "[We need] any kind of help we can get – with the recession and all, money has been hard to come by."

Kent Schexnaydre is the contractor who has literally been straightening out the old church. "We are trying to level it first, and then make everything square, and then begin the process of restoration from there," said Schexnaydre.

When they tore off the old steps, they found old grave markers from the 1800's.

Guillot is trying to raise the money needed to continue the restoration. When they are finished, they will rent the building out for weddings and such to any denomination that needs the building.

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