Total Destruction – Arsonists Captured
One of Louisiana's iconic homes, the LeBeau Plantation house was destroyed in a suspicious fire early Friday morning in St. Bernard Parish, according to Fire Chief Thomas Stone.
All photos via Times-Picayune
"Every chief's worst nightmare is to have a historical structure destroyed in their community, and that is what happened here," Stone said about 9 a.m. Friday from the scene as the fire still smoldered and he awaited the arrival of the state fire marshal's arson investigator and arson dog. "We got the call around 2:11 a.m. and the first unit that got on the scene said it was engulfed in fire. …It was total devastation."
All that remained of the house on Friday morning were its four chimneys, a small portion of its interior brick wall and its unique brick foundation.
In terms of assessing the financial cost of the damage, Stone simply said, "it was priceless."
Before Friday was out, however, the sheriff had arrested seven young men and leveled a variety of charges against them including deliberately setting the fire. A later report from the Times-Picayune tells us:
The seven men in custody in connection with the suspected arson of LeBeau Plantation in Old Arabi apparently were looking for ghosts, according to St. Bernard Parish Sheriff Jimmy Pohlmann. The sheriff said the men had been smoking marijuana and drinking in the vacant house.
The men, between the ages of 17 and 31, arrived at the home late Thursday night, likely entering through a gap in the fence around the property that had been cut out by other curious trespassers over the years, according to Col. John Doran, who oversees the Sheriff's Office's criminal enforcement.
"They had been looking for ghosts, trying to summon spirits, beating on the floors," Doran said.
Busted Ghost Busters
Doran said the men appear to have become frustrated when no ghosts materialized. Police believe that in a haze of alcohol and marijuana, one of them decided to burn the place to the ground.
Read the full, updated report HERE.
March 2013 photo of the home taken after completion of
repairs to roof and attic from Hurricane Katrina. It has been
unoccupied for 60 years. (Times-Picayune)
* * * * * * *