Location: Theriot, Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana, United States
The History of St. Eloi Church in Theriot, Louisiana
[Please note: it's a work in progess]
January 17, 1996
(The following article is from part two of a two-part series about the founding family of St. Eloi Catholic Church and the community of Theriot, on Bayou du Large. This article was compiled by Ollie Theriot, great-granddaughter of Eloi and Seraphine on the dedication of the new St. Eloi Catholic Church in Theriot -- Autumn 1971)
In the words of Roger Baudier, the historian of "The Catholic Church in Louisiana", we see a detailed account of the generosity of the founding family of Bayou du Large. Here follows his account of the founding of St. Eloi Catholic Church:
After the War Between the States a priest came occasionally to Bayou du Large and said Mass in a country store owned by Mr. St. Martin, located on the West bank of the bayou opposite the present church. In the early part of 1875 Mrs. Michel Eloi Theriot donated in memory of her late husband three arpents of land to be used for a church and cemetery site.
The more prominent families then were the Theriots, St. Martins, Thibodeauxs, Chauvins, Champagnes, Fredericks, Watkins, Briens, Henris, Waguespacks and others; later -- the Marniandes. All of these worked in the swamps and neighboring stretches gathering timber for the church, and now they wanted a pastor.
When the edifice was completed, a delegation went to see Archbishop Perche, telling him they had built a church, and now they wanted a pastor, The delegation was told to return home, that the archbishop would come to see the place in a short time.
Archbishop Perche made the trip to Theriot on Bayou du Large and blessed the new church. He celebrated Mass. During the ceremony there was a big downpour, and the new roof leaked so badly it was necessary to hold an umbrella over the head of the monsignor at the altar. Nevertheless, the archbishop promised to send a pastor within the next few days.
Keeping his word, during Lent of 1875, the archbishop sent Father Jean Geoffroy, who held the pastorate of St. Eloi until July, 1882."