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From the $250,000 fence to the four-columned jacuzzi with...

By STEVEN WATSKY

BATON ROUGE, La. -- From the $250,000 fence to the four-columned jacuzzi with a gold-colored swan fixture, Jimmy Swaggart's plantation-style mansion is not the typical preacher's home.

The television evangelist who reportedly consorted with a prostitute and was suspended by the Louisiana Assemblies of God for three months from his pulpit and ordered to submit to two years of rehabilitation owns a 9,337-square-foot mansion on the outskirts of Baton Rouge.

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Like his cousins Jerry Lee Lewis and Mickey Gilley, who grew up with Swaggart in the dirt-poor central Louisiana town of Ferriday, the evangelist has a taste for the extravagant.

The home, located near Gov. Edwin Edwards' house, is styled after the historic Shadows on the Teche plantation and was valued at $1.5 million by assessors in 1987. It reportedly was built at cost by the same company responsible for construction at Swaggart's World Ministry Center.

'The house is a little large,' Swaggart said after its completion in 1984. 'It's a nice house.'

The two-story home on 20 acres is surrounded by a brick-and-wood fence valued by Swaggart at $250,000. The fence is part of an elaborate security package that features a guard house, alarm system and security cameras.

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Swaggart, who once told a congregation God visited him in his car, said he needed the fence to keep the curious from taking photographs and stopping to gawk.

The preacher, in an interview last year, defended his lifestyle by invoking the word of God.

'Our people in the church, all the people that we minister to, they don't take the position that when a person becomes a Christian ... he moves into a tent and wears sackcloth and ashes,' Swaggart said. 'They believe that God blesses you, if you live for God and you serve God.'

Upstairs in the mansion, the master bathroom contains a four-columned jacuzzi featuring a gold-colored swan that spouts water into the middle of the 8-foot-long tub.

'We could live in a house three times the size (of this one) and ... the community would be so thrilled to have us,' said Frances Swaggart, the preacher's wife. 'But it's a bad thing nowadays to be a Christian, and it's a bad thing to be successful in what God's called you to do.'

Also inside the compound is Swaggart's son's home, valued at more than $500,000. Donnie Swaggart is one of about 20 family members employed at the Swaggart Ministries.

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Swaggart has been embroiled in controversy since it was revealed by church officials last week that he had been photographed with an alleged prostitute entering and leaving her motel room in New Orleans. A resident of the motel said she had seen Swaggart there several times, and claimed he offered her money to perform a pornographic act.

The national council of the Assemblies of God meets Thursday to decide whether to increase the punishment recommended for Swaggart by the Louisiana District Council of the church, which banned the evangelist from the pulpit for three months and ordered him to submit to two years of rehabilitation.

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