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|Catahoula landmark destroyed in blaze|
A Catahoula Parish landmark was destroyed by fire last week.
The Jim Bowie Relay Station restaurant, built by Enterprise principal John Ed Bartmess, had for years been a favorite dining spot for residents throughout northeastern Louisiana and the state.
Bartmess later sold the operation.
Harrisonburg Fire Chief Robbie Mayo said his department responded to the fire after receiving a 911 call at 7 a.m. Friday, Dec. 28.
"When we arrived at 7:30 p.m. the structure was pretty well fully engulfed," Mayo said. "We concentrated on trying to keep the fire from spreading to other out buildings."
Mayo said fire departments from Enterprise, Manifest, Leland and Sandy Lake also responded to the 911 call.
He identified the owner of the restaurant as Raymond Nugent of Rosefield.
"No one was in the building," Mayo said. "The business usually closes the whole month of December for the holidays and it was closed when the fire occurred."
Mayo said the fire appeared to have started in the kitchen.
"The fire first came up through the roof over the kitchen area and that usually coincides with the origin of the fire," he said.
Mayo said Enterprise Fire Chief Parasha Coleman requested the State Fire Marshal investigate the blaze.
The restaurant and other buildings were constructed by John Ed Bartmess, his family and friends. The operation includes a grist mill, covered bridge, gas station, blacksmith shop, school house, boat house, livery stable, church, hall of heroes, nature trial and swinging bridge.
Bartmess based the complex on parish and state history, capitalizing particularly on the history of the small community of Enterprise on the Ouachita River.
The restaurant served individuals and groups throughout the region and state. Diners were entertained while eating catfish or a steak with music, including bluegrass, country and gospel.
The complex was named after the famous Catahoula frontiersman Jim Bowie, who was known for two primary things -- the Bowie Knife and his death at the Alamo.
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