St. Peter Catholic Church family getting to keep lifetime memories

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 11, 2006

Old cast iron fence replaced, sold and recreated at homes


Staff Reporter

RESERVE- Members of St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Reserve have bought pieces of the church’s history to show their faith and devotion to the church and their family history.

Members of the congregation found out that St. Peter’s cemetery was replacing the long-standing cast iron fence with a new fence, so they bought the old one.

The cemetery was built in 1871, but the fence wasn’t always there. &#8220The old fence was painted silver and made of cast iron, and it was put up in 1931,” said Willie Maus, the groundskeeper for the cemetery. The cemetery fence was sold in 100 foot sections at $25 per section.

&#8220I think the people who bought the fence are making a testament to their faith and making a tribute to a religious life,” Maus said.

Dianne Terrio Campos, a native of Reserve, was the first person to buy sections of the fence.

&#8220I just thought it was so beautiful and it held so many memories for me and my family, when I found out they were taking down the fence I said I just had to have some,” she said. Her husband is an artist and welder and she and her husband have used the fence in their home decorating.

She had the pieces she acquired shipped to her home in Arizona and has used it to build a headboard and to put a fence around her own yard.

&#8220It cost $300 just to ship it to Arizona by freight truck, but I try to get as much stuff from home as possible. I thought it would make a great headboard for my bed with the fleur-de-lis design on it,” Campos said.

Campos attended St. Peter parochial school for nine years and walked through the cemetery often.

&#8220There was a community club after school and I used to meet my mom to go to the community club to watch movies and we would walk through the cemetery. My grandparents are buried in the cemetery as well so the fence was a big part of my childhood,” she said.

For Jimmy Lasseigne, buying the fence had historical, religious and family value all wrapped in to one.

&#8220When I was little, the priest still did the mass in Latin and we went to church every Sunday. The priest was buried there in the cemetery and I remember him fondly.”

Lasseigne is also a historian and his family has a history of its own at St. Peter’s Cemetery.

&#8220My grandmother was related to the Guedry family who owned Terre Haute Plantation, so the Guedrys are buried there in the family mausoleum,” he said. &#8220Many of the Catholics from all over the area, including civil war veterans, are buried in the cemetery so the fence is important to me.”

The fence has withstood natural disasters such as Hurricane Betsy in 1965 but the gate was replaced after the storm.

&#8220Not only is the fence beautiful, but it will also go up in value,” Lasseigne said. He is now living in St. Amant and brought his fence section to his new home where he plans to place it in his yard around a garden.

Jimmy Terrio has built his own posts for his lengths of fence and placed it around his home.

&#8220It brings a real beauty to the yard and sets it off well,” he said.

Terrio is the brother of Dianne Campos and shares some of the same memories and reasons for buying the fence.

&#8220Walking through the cemetery to the community club was an almost daily occurrence, the center was what we did for our social life and we would go there to swim and watch the movies,” he said.

The fence that was a part of so many residents’ childhood is now a part of their adult lives because they chose to preserve its memories and let them endure.