St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, Weyanoke, LA

My friend Trish told me about this church near St. Francisville in West Feliciana Parish. It was built in the 1840s for the families that lived on nearby plantations, by the same architect who built Christ Episcopal in Napoleonville (which I’ve also photographed). He thought the English country church was the ideal for all rural churches, and that’s clearly evident in his design for this one. When the highway that leads to St. Francisville was built in the 1920s (and as more people started to own automobiles) they started attending Grace Episcopal (which I’ve also photographed!) instead.

It was deconsecrated in the 1940s, and now it’s just a brick shell slowly being overtaken by the forest. There was some talk last year of renovating it, but nothing’s been done so far, although the roof was replaced in the 1980s when a tree fell on it. Either they’re waiting to raise a certain amount before they start, or like so many “renovations” in south Louisiana, it’s never getting past the talking-about-it phase. Frankly, I prefer it the way it is. It’s not like there’s a shortage of perfectly preserved little country churches in this state.

PICT0799, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

To get there, I took US 61 North, then turned onto LA 66 past St. Francisville. After about 12 miles, there’s a little private road called Cap Eddies, that was blocked by a gate. I left my car on the side of the road and ducked through the gate, which luckily had wide bars. I took this photo from where I parked my car.

PICT0768, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

I walked a short way down the road–which I never saw anyone go down the entire time I was there–maybe a quarter of a mile. From there is a little path leading to the church. I took this photo from where I left the road and entered the path.

PICT0769, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

The outside is pretty intact, it doesn’t have the masses of vines growing on it that you see on a lot of other old buildings in the south.

PICT0774, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

PICT0781, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

PICT0796, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

There are still some patches of plaster inside, but it’s mostly bare brick.

PICT0797, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

PICT0795, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

PICT0792, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

It was a beautiful day–we’re having an exceptionally cool, dry March–and very peaceful. After I took my photos (I also shot a roll of 35mm, one of 120, and a pack of instant in my Holga), I sat on the grass in the sun and ate some snacks I had brought for lunch. I could see my car from the church, so I didn’t have to worry about it. I could have stayed all day.

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. khscassidy
    Oct 12, 2014 @ 22:11:39

    I’m not sure if this will get
    to you or not. I see that you visited the church in 2013. I am trying to see if this is a legal area to go to. I’m a photographer and I do not want to trespass on an area that is posted.

  2. Sarah
    Oct 13, 2014 @ 04:35:39

    Cap Eddies is a private road, but I’m not sure if the church itself is on private property. I don’t remember any signs. I’m willing to trespass for a photograph, although I won’t force entry into an abandoned building (this wasn’t locked).

  3. islandtownhousebeaufort
    Feb 20, 2015 @ 08:34:41

    I think there is a preservation group that replaced the roof-perhaps they are the owners

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