Authorities say a blaze that destroyed a historic Louisiana plantation was deliberately set by seven "ghost hunters" who became frustrated at finding no ghosts inside the house.
The LeBeau Plantation, once the largest plantation south of New Orleans and one of only two plantations in Arabi "to make it to the 21st century," burned to the ground in the early Friday morning fire.
According to St. Bernard Parish Sheriff Jimmy Pohlmann, the seven men aged 17 to 31, entered the vacant house through a hole in the surrounding fence hoping to find some ghosts.
After failing to find any ghosts, the men, who were allegedly drunk and high on pot, reportedly began building a bonfire at the instruction of ringleader Dusten Davenport, 31.
Bryon Meek, 29, of Gretna was also arrested and charged with accessory to arson. Local man Kevin Barbe, 20, was charged with accessory to arson and criminal trespassing.
"Such a devastating loss to our community," said St. Bernard Fire Chief Tomas Stone. "It was a beautiful historical plantation. It’s a fire chief’s worst nightmare, to lose a historical structure due to fire."
After serving its original purpose, LeBeau spent several years as a hotel, a boarding house, and an illegal casino. It has been vacant for the last thirty years.