Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshal

$2m raised to rebuild burned black churches in Louisiana

Nearly $2m has been raised to rebuild three Louisiana churches that were set alight during a ten-day period.

Holden Matthews, 21, the son of a sheriff's deputy, is facing arson and hate crime charges after the FBI was called in to investigate the suspicious fires at historically African American churches.

The first fire torched the St Mary Baptist Church in Port Barre last month.


Days later, the Greater Union Baptist Church and Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Opelousas were burned.

Each was more than 100 years old, with mostly black congregations.

Following the huge fundraising efforts to rebuild Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, donations started pouring in to a GoFundMe page set up last week to rebuild the black churches.


The fundraiser was spearheaded by the Seventh District Baptist Association, and the writer-activist Yashar Ali, who encouraged his near 400,000 Twitter followers to donate.

Pastor Freddie Jack also helped spearhead the campaign and in an interview with CBS News, he thanked those who had donated to the church rebuilding efforts.

He added that the destruction of the churches "changed our dwelling, but it didn't change our faith".

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