Bill Capo / Action Reporter

NEW ORLEANS -- The pastor of the historic St. Augustine church in Treme can often be found with a paint brush in his hand. Father Quentin Moody is fighting the ravages of time in the church where he just celebrated the 170th anniversary.

'My family are excellent painters, and I do a lot of painting here,' Moody said.

'It's sad,' said church secretary Linda Harris. 'It's really sad, and Father Moody patches here and he patches there. I come in to work some mornings, and he has paint all over him just trying to keep it all together.'

'I repaired over there by the tabernacle, scraped the wall, painted, and just recently scraped some of the columns in the back, painted them,' pointed out Moody.

Moody is dedicated, but he is fighting a losing battle. Paint is peeling all over the church, inside and out. Repainting could cost $70,000 for the interior, and $75,000 more to paint the exterior.

'We have absolutely no savings,' the pastor said. 'We're operating solely on donations, and our weekly collections.'

But there's more. The roof is shot, and replacing it could cost $100,000 or more.

Now there are water leaks inside the church.

'We've had buckets here on a couple of occasions, until we could have someone come in and do a little more patching,' said Harris.

'There was so much water coming down it was enough to take a shower,' Moody said. 'We really need a new roof.'

Then there is termite damage, and more.

'These historic Corinthian columns, just about all of these columns are in need of repairs,' explained Moody.

Moody said he still receives checks from former members of the congregation who were displaced by Hurricane Katrina, who are sending those checks to St. Augustine from the towns they now live in.

But on the average Sunday, the congregation here numbers about 175 people. Moody would love to see that double, in order to put the church on sound footing financially.

'We need at least $4000 on a weekly basis in collections, and presently the average collection is about $2200,' said Moody.

'I'd love to see it restored, totally restored. It's such a historic building, and there's such good vibes in here,' Harris said.

Click here to visit the church's website.

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