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Historic LeBeau Plantation in Arabi destroyed by fire

A historic plantation house in Arabi has burned the ground. St. Bernard Fire Chief says the fire looks suspicious.

Kids growing up in Arabi all knew of the LeBeau Plantation House. All that’s left now is rubble. In better days, it was a proud historic building in need of some preservation. It was built in 1851. Teenagers who said it was haunted often dared each other to go inside. Then, around 2 a.m. Friday, it was engulfed in flames so high and so hot that fire fighters could only set up a perimeter to keep them from spreading.

It was once the largest plantation house south of New Orleans. Fire fighters could only watch as the 162-year-old LeBeau Plantation burned to the ground.

“Such a devastating loss to our community,” St. Bernard Fire Chief Tomas Stone said. “It was a beautiful historical plantation. It’s a fire chief’s worst nightmare, to lose a historical structure due to fire.”

Chief Stone told WGNO News the house had no utilities and calls the fire suspicious. No one has lived in the building since the 1980s.

When the sun came up Friday morning, stunned neighbors gaped at what was left: four tall chimneys and a pile of charred lumber.

Jerri Looper remembered coming home to her flooded house after Hurricane Katrina, only to find comfort that the LeBeau house had survived:

“I sat down on the ground at the corner and I looked up at the mansion and I saw that it was still standing and I just think it’s ironic that a fire took it out, but it withstood a terrible hurricane.”

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