The LeBeau Plantation house was a New Orleans landmark and once the largest plantation south of the city, but today it was destroyed after what officials labeled a suspicious fire.
Firefighters were called to the plantation just after 2 am on Friday, and arrived to find the structure fully engulfed in flames. By the time firefighters got the blaze under control, all that was left standing of the LeBeau Plantation were four chimneys. Firefighters even had to set up collapse zones around the burnt out structure to keep responders safe.
St. Bernard Parish Fire Chief Thomas Stone told Fox 8 that the structure was already a “lost cause” by the time firefighters got there.
“Every chief’s worst nightmare is to have a historical structure destroyed in their community, and that is what happened here,” Stone said on Friday morning. “We got the call around 2:11 a.m. and the first unit that got on the scene said it was engulfed in fire….It was total devastation.”
Although there are still few details about the cause of the fire, sources said it is being treated as suspicious, with arson suspected. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives will join Louisiana state fire marshals on Friday to continue the investigation.
The LeBeau Plantation House was originally a private residence, but was converted to a hotel, then a boarding house, and eventually became a casino. At its peak, the plantation was the largest estate south of New Orleans.
By the time it burned down, the plantation had been vacant for several years.
“This is a devastating loss to the community,” Stone said. “It’s a fire chief’s worst nightmare.”
There were no injuries reported in the LeBeau Plantation fire.