St. Landry Parish African-American Church sets reopening date two years after being destroyed by arsonist


ST. LANDRY PARISH, Louisiana (KLFY) – The rebuilding process is nearing completion for the Mt. Pleasant Baptist Missionary Church, on the same spot where the old church stood for more than 100 years, before an arsonist destroyed it there two years ago.

Over two years ago, Reverend Gerald Toussaint and his congregation witnessed their church burnt down over a hate crime.

But now they are only a few weeks away from opening their doors again.

“Everything we’ve been through, COVID and everything that’s going on in the world, we see a bright side. Said Toussaint.

The rebuilding process is nearing completion for Mt. Pleasant, the church that stood on Route 182 in Opelousas for over 100 years before it was destroyed.

“Compared to two years ago, morale is good, people are excited. “

In April 2019, Holden Matthews, 23, set the church ablaze along with two other predominantly African-American churches.

“I can’t get God to forgive me unless I forgive someone else.” said Toussaint.

He told News 10 that assistance for the reconstruction process came from all 50 states and 20 different countries.

“Our lights are on, the water is on. We are getting closer. “

He says the past two years have been difficult without a church to keep the congregation together, but they’ve found other ways to stay in touch.

“It’s hard when you don’t have anything to keep people together, but modern technology has helped us stay in touch with one another. “

Reverend Toussaint says the bigger projects inside the church are finished with just minor touch-ups to be done.

He says depending on the weather, the doors to the church are expected to open in just a few weeks.

“We’ve talked before about making sure people are safe. the temperature checks and whatever we need to do to get that many members into the sanctuary.

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