born again with art
These two old churches with their twin steeples are among the oldest wooden structures in the southeastern Louisiana city of Ponchatoula. But after sitting mostly unused for decades, the buildings have been transformed into a new creative arts center.
Ponchatoula artist and philanthropist, the late Harry Gabriel, came up with the idea for turning the old Lutheran and Presbyterian churches into an arts center. “His vision was to have a place that would not censor anything that musicians and artists wanted to do,” explains Kim Zabbia, president of the Twin Steeples Creative Arts Center. Gabriel purchased the vacant Lutheran Church building. The nearby Presbyterian Church was donated to the arts group for one dollar. “It seems like we have an extraordinarily large population of artistic type people,” said Presbyterian Pastor Aaron Gordon. He added, “It seems like it’s very important for bolstering arts in the community.”
moving the twin steeples together
Getting the two old wooden structures to face each other steeple-to-steeple required some heavy lifting. Crews and heavy machinery moved and rotated the old buildings. A new covered pavilion will link the two structures.
Opening Tuesday, November 30th
Prior to the Twin Steeples Creative Arts Center grand opening, musician T. J. Barends performed for a fund raiser inside the old Lutheran Church. Barends is a native of Ponchatoula. “We haven’t had too many platforms for the performing arts,” Barends says. “Spinning the two churches to face one another, from different denominations, kind of brings everything together.” Barends adds, “It’s a very cool thing.”
twin steeples featured on tv
The new creative arts center already has musicians and artists scheduled for shows and performances through much of 2022. The former places of worships are becoming a new home for artistic expression.
images of the new twin steeples creative arts center
The Twin Steeples Creative Arts Center is located in downtown Ponchatoula at 220 East Oak Street.