Martha Deroche and the
Blind River Chapel
by: George Payne
One must travel by boat to find the Blind River Chapel, navigating past towering cypresses cloaked in Spanish moss, all the while following crudely painted signs to this remote retreat. Visitors who find their way to the chapel are greeted by simple cypress pews and an elaborate altar to the Virgin Mary, who is surrounded by paintings, iconography, and flowers. A statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus stands guard outside.
Marta Deroche, the daughter of an impoverished Cajun faith healers is responsible for the chapel, which she created in 1983.Deroche says she had visions of “Jesus kneeling by a rock with the words, ‘Upon this rock you shall build a church.'" From these dreams Deroche with the assistance of her husband, Bobby, and many volunteers, designed and built the chapel next to their second home on the Blind River.
Deroche says the chapel has even witnessed miracles: Individuals stricken with cancer have gone into remission. People without jobs have found work, and even a fifteen-cent medal of St. Dominic has changed from tin into gold. The Catholic Church does not officially sanction the chapel, but many from the surrounding Cajun community use the chapel as a place to worship and pray. Deroche welcomes and offers her prayers and blessing to all who come.
Click on an image below to show it in more detail.
All images and information copyrighted George Payne 2002. Please do not use without permission.