PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Local News

April 11, 2011

Chatagnier’s garden garnish helps faithful pray in peace

NEDERLAND — BROOK CHATAGNIER

Age: 71

Community Connection: Beautifies churches

Fast Fact: He’s a Chatagnier of the Murphy’s Cakes Chatagnier family.

Quick Quote: “You’ve got to keep the body busy.”

NEDERLAND - It feels like prayers can be heard in the garden. Someone sitting quietly in a jasmine-covered arbor, shaded from the sun, could hear even a lone bee collecting nectar.

The arbor at Wesley United Methodist Church now has a bench, because Brook Chatagnier raided it from his wife. That’s okay. Helen fully supports his work, he said.

Chatagnier, of Port Neches, built a pump house that looks like a miniature church in the garden, as well as the arbor.

His son-in-law, Garry Richards, maintains the garden that he says is mainly used for “quiet time,” as in reading, thinking and quiet walks.

“ Many local neighbors pass through the garden in the evenings with their kids or walking their dogs.  They all seem to enjoy the quiet serenity,” Richards said. “The Prayer Garden is used every year at Easter for our Sunrise Service, which is open to the public, and has been used for outdoor weddings.  Many people have used the garden as a place for family pictures or wedding portraits.  The garden is well kept and maintained year round, but spring is the best time for picture taking with the flowers blooming and the trees getting new leaves.  It is decorated for Christmas each year and is a beautiful site during our live Nativity.”

He calls Chatagnier a “wonderful carpenter and an even better man.”

“He has helped me on numerous occasions in the garden.  He has currently been working on a new Church in Orangefield, building new pews and the belfry for the steeple. His retirement has been a true blessing to many people that he has been involved with.  He has used his time and his God given talents to help others and truly deserves the recognition that you are wanting to give him,” Richards said.

Sandra Rogers nominated Chatagnier as a senior on the go.

Chatagnier said his Uncle Murphy  ran the noted Murphy’s Cake Shop in Port Arthur and was his inspiration in “giving back.” He used to  help  his uncle and his dad, Roland,   with construction at Hughen Center, he said.

Now that he’s retired as a DuPont  safety technician,  he said he can  do more of the woodworking he loves. He’s made louvres for a bell tower at McLewis Church of Christ in the Orange area.   There’s no way slowing down is for him, he said.

“I’ve seen a lot of people that have retired and sat in a rocking chair. It just doesn’t seem like they last like that. You’ve got to keep the body busy,” he said.

The church garden is a place he often visits.

“It’s just a peaceful place to ease your mind and talk to the Lord,” he said.

The sign at the entrance reads:

There is a place

Our God creates

A wonderful garden of prayer.

And there He’ll wait

Beside the gate

For those who meet him there.

ddoiron@panews.com

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