Foundation plans to preserve historic site of Old Governor’s Mansion

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OPELOUSAS, La (KLFY) – Plans to rebuild the old governor’s mansion are in the works.

The building was set on fire four months ago, and now a group of people are weighing their options to rebuild on the property.

Before the old governor’s mansion went up in flames, the mansion’s foundation was in the planning phase of restoring this building.

The foundation is hoping to bring life back into the historic site.

“If it’s not possible the grounds themselves will remain some kind of tribute to the governor’s mansion through maybe a memorial garden,” said Robbie Sebastien, a volunteer with the Oldest Governor’s Mansion of Louisiana (OGMLA) foundation.

Sebastien says before the fire, the group was planning for about a year and a half to restore the mansion back to its original state–when Opelousas was the capital of Louisiana.

“The house was going to be renovated into like an artist studio, kind of a museum, and it’d even be available for public use,” said Sebastien, but the fire forced the foundation to change those plans.

The group held its first fundraising event last week. The foundation director says they raised more than $5000 and plan to continue the fundraising efforts.

“Some are going to involve a name brand rum that’s going to be named after the governor’s mansion, there’s going to be a jewelry line that will be named after the mansion, also a soap line, and possibly some kind of wood turning line,” said Sebastien.

“We certainly at Opelousas Tourism applaud the foundation for taking on this fundraising effort and this valuable project,” said Melanie LeBouef, Director of Tourism in Opelousas.

LeBouef says she’s happy to see the foundation working to preserve one of the city’s important pieces of history.

Meanwhile, Sebastien says whatever the future holds for the historic site, he expects the project will take about 3-5 years to complete.

The State Fire Marshal’s Office is offering a $10,000 reward for any information leading to the arrest(s) of the person(s) responsible.

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