An early morning fire in Arnaudville destroyed the home of Mavis Arnaud Fruge, a woman at the heart of Arnaudville’s cultural French renaissance in recent years and the recipient earlier this year of the French government’s prestigious Knight in the Order of the Academic Palms award.

“This home, Fruge’s home, is where she fed, entertained and provided more than 400 francophone guests with an authentic French Louisiana experience and as recent as Sunday, hosted for a third-year Louisiana State University students participating in an ongoing French Immersion class,” a friend, Jacqueline Cochran, said in an e-mail about the fire. “The now charred kitchen that served as the lab for food activities that included couche-couche, sweet dough pie and egg dying with natural plants — all en francaise.”

Fruge had lived in the home for 39 years.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.