Burdeauxs lost memories, much more in fire

Published 7:41 pm Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Floyd and Helen Burdeaux purchased their first building on Alabama Avenue in 1973 and opened an auto parts store. In 1976 they bought the building just steps away, originally built in 1931 by the White Eagle bus line, and they also later acquired a third piece of property that adjoined the other two.

Saturday morning they watched much of the property burn, the fire taking with it years of memories and irreplaceable items.

The Burdeauxs sold the auto parts store to Eric Barber last spring, and the name became Barber’s Auto and Paint Supply Co. But they retained ownership of the building, and Lloyd Burdeaux partitioned off a space next to the auto parts store for an office, and he continued to run Burdeaux’s Sales and Service.

Inside the office were many old photographs of the White Eagle Bus Line and its riders. There were also photos of old Bogalusa that have been reproduced on postcards as well as many photos given to Burdeaux by the White family when they closed their photography studio, a staple in Bogalusa for many years.

“I had a picture of the first load of logs on a T-model, and you could see A-models coming down the road behind it,” he said, remembering the subjects of some of the old photos he’s collected through the years.

There were other things in a storage area that he treasured, too, including a 1951 Ford F1 pickup that had been totally restored and a 1946 Ford two-door sedan, which originally belonged to Buck Jordan.

“Those antique cars were worth $26,000, and they weren’t insured,” Burdeaux said.

None of his treasures were.

He had a 1930s gas pump that he restored, an old ox yoke and a large Pegasus from an old Mobil station in Bogalusa.

“And all my keys and titles went up in that inferno,” he said.

The keys and titles were to vehicles he had on his used car lot, which faces Memphis Street.

“One car had its tail lights melted,” he said. “And one truck got pulled out with a wrecker since the keys were inside the building. Several other vehicles on the lot were destroyed.”

The buildings themselves were insured, and now the couple is waiting for insurance investigators who are headed to Bogalusa. They are visibly shaken by the ordeal, but also, they find many reasons to laugh in spite of the circumstances.

“I just don’t want you to try and console me,” Burdeaux said. “That’s when I break down.”