Unknown Jewel Lost

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LeBeau Plantation, Arabi, Louisiana

For those of you unaware, a tragedy occurred over the weekend just south of New Orleans when vandals destroyed a plantation home by setting it on fire. True, it was in a pretty dilapidated state and true, also, the group of individuals who are responsible for the arson claimed to be ghost hunters, but to me they were vandals, pure and simple.

I fully acknowledge that not all investigation groups are above board, honest or even working with a full deck, but to my knowledge, none has ever destroyed a place they were allegedly investigating. Straight up vandalism is what it was, getting high and drunk and setting things on fire with their stupidity.

Apparently, though, before it was burned down, the LeBeau Plantation had a reputation for being haunted. Though the windows of the cupola are boarded up in the photo above, this has not always been the case. Prior to it being boarded up, there were reports of lights being visible in the cupola, despite there not being any electrical connection since the 1980s. It apparently also had the reputation for being the most haunted house in the area.

The land on which the house once stood was granted in 1721. Various plantations occupied the land for the next hundred years or so, then the land was turned into a brickyard. In 1851, Franciose Barthelemy LeBeau purchased the land and built the house that was recently destroyed.

According to some, the LeBeau family was just as bad as the LaLauries when it came to mistreatment of slaves. They would beat their slaves to death on occasion and then would order the living ones to bury their dead out in the field. It seems, though, that the dead slaves were able to exact revenge by haunting the LeBeaus and driving them all insane. Nearly all of the family committed suicide.

Artist's rendering of LeBeau Plantation as it appeared in the 1800s.

Artist’s rendering of LeBeau Plantation as it appeared in the 1800s.

The light in the cupola is not, however, any of the murdered slaves. In the 1970s a family resided in the house for a short time, but left soon after the death of their daughter. She fell from the cupola, allegedly pushed by unseen hands. The family moved out soon after.

Perhaps between the holidays, I will drive down to Arabi and see the remains for myself and take a few photos. It saddens me greatly that a piece of our local history was destroyed in such a senseless manner. Looking around online, you can see photos of the vandals and they don’t look like the brightest individuals in the world, which kinda enforces my belief that they weren’t real “ghost hunters” but used it as an after thought thinking they might get a “pass” on any prison time because they were “working”.

Sources:

http://old-new-orleans.com/NO_LeBeau.html

http://earthfiles.net/articles/plantation.cfm

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