Fredrick Taggart loves watching
'Extreme Makeover: Home Edition'.
The President of Fredrick & Emily's
Renovations in Mount Joy
loved it even more when he saw the
end result of work his company did to
help restore a 120-year-old church in
downtown New Orleans for the show.
A team of
the devastated city during Mardi Gras to
help restore 74 sections of pews for First
Emmanuel Baptist Church on Carondelet
First Emmanuel Baptist serves the community
by feeding the homeless, offering
day care for infants and providing a gymnasium for young people,
according to 2theadvocate.com, a web site for The Advocate newspaper
there. The church also operates 198 apartments for low income
residents. Half of those
apartments were devastated
by the storm, according to
the web site. Fredrick &
Emily's specializes in
church restoration, and
does work all over the country. Often, the firm brings the pieces to it's
Mount Joy warehouse for the restoration.
In keeping with the Extreme Makeover model, all the work to renovate
the church was done on site in 100 hours. Taggart said his team
arrived Sunday, Feb. 19, and had all 74 pews completed by that
Wednesday. "All of us were tired," he said. The crew disassembled the
pews and carried them into tents next to the church. "We cleaned
them up and removed all the nails and screws that had been put into
them in all different ways over the years. We also had to make some
pieces that were missing." After new carpeting was installed, Taggart
said, his crew reinstalled the pews. "We worked mostly around the
clock," he said, "with the upholstery work taking
up the night-time hours."
The project cost the company about $70,000.
"It will be hard to make up that kind of
money," he said, "but when you see the devastation
here, it's very moving." Taggart said
what made the devastation real to him was
when he first drove
through New Orleans
after the storm. "They put
a big 'X' on each house.
Around the 'X' was the
date it was searched, the
initials of those who did
the search and a number
for the dead bodies and a
number for those found
alive," he said. "That
stands out to me as real. People died."
Taggart took over the Mount Joy business
when his father died 13 years ago. "He was
doing mostly residential restoration," he said.
"One day someone asked him about repairing
some pews and he did." After getting into the
network for church restoration, Fredrick
moved the business strictly to church renovation.
"We are a full-service one-stop shop for
all restoration needs, but radius pews on a
slope floor proved quite a challenge!"
The Rev. Charles Southall III, pastor of the
church, said that only 300 of the 1,200 parishioners
have returned so far. "When we walked
in to see the congregation, they knew why we
were there. It was very emotional," Taggart
said. "It hits you pretty deeply. The biggest,
toughest guys are the ones crying the hardest."