- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 2, 2019

OPELOUSAS, La. (AP) - Two historically black Baptist churches have been destroyed by fires in one week in a Louisiana parish.

News outlets report that the Greater Union Baptist Church in Opelousas on Tuesday became the second of the churches to burn in St. Landry Parish. The other was St. Mary Baptist Church in Port Barre on March 26.

State Fire Marshal’s spokeswoman Ashley Rodrigue says the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is assisting investigators as the federal agency does when a religious building or organization is involved. She says it’s too soon for investigators to connect the fires.

Greater Union’s the Rev. Harry Richard says it’s an unusual coincidence.

Port Barre is about a 15-minute drive east of Opelousas. The parish is roughly 140 miles (225 kilometers) northwest of New Orleans.

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