Port Barre, LA
Date Founded: 1913
At some time before 1908, Port Barre was being visited by Methodist circuit riders. The pioneer of the French Mission, Martin Hebert, made Port Barre one of his stopping points. He would arrive by train on Saturdays and walk to an area where a tent was erected. A pump organ was used to provide the music. Lanterns were used for light, since the services were held at night. Services were also held on some Sunday mornings. When a wind blew the tent down in 1909 (and it was too rotten to raise again), services were held in a school house on the banks of Bayou Courtableau near the train depot. When they soon became too crowded, the congregation began meeting at "The Old John LeBlanc Saloon" (which included an upstairs room with a blood-stained floor where a murder had been committed). A Sunday School was organized in 1912. Services were held on the first floor, while older Sunday School classes and box suppers were held on the second floor. Around this time, Rev. William Falcon was often making the trip with Rev. Hebert.
Rev. Falcon was present when the church, consisting of 8 members, was organized on May 9, 1913 as the Port Barre Methodist Episcopal Church, South. By 1916, membership was up to 34. The first church building was built in 1919. A building project, which included an educational building, was undertaken (and completed in 1951) to accommodate a growing congregation. The first resident pastor arrived in 1957 and a parsonage for Rev. C.J. Thibodeaux in 1958.
By 1968, the congregation needed more room. Property was purchased on the corner of Cora Miller and Virginia Elizabeth Streets. The first service was held in the new building by Rev. J.D. Strozier on April 8, 1971.