WACO, Texas (KWTX) Millions were shocked as the historical Notre Dame church caught fire Monday, destroying nearly all of the interior.
Connections to the historic church expand back to Central Texas, as a Baylor professor remembers her trip to the famous church.
"Two years ago I took my students to Europe to play and see historical organs," Dr. Isabelle Demers, who is the Associate Professor of Organ at Baylor, recalls her visit to Paris.
"One of the stops was actually in Notre Dame... we went on a Monday evening at about 11 pm, everybody was out there was no tourists, nobody around. We got a chance to play the organ for a good 2-3 hours so it was an incredible experience."
Even at the time understanding how rare the opportunity was.
"Wow, this is the organ that the composer played in this building and this is how it sounded. There is really nothing like that in the world," says Demers.
The opportunity is now even more valuable as she watches the church go up in flames.
"Just for my students it was so great they were able to experience it, now that it’s lost that is at least a memory they’ll have for the rest of their lives," she said.
More than 400 firefighters have managed to save the cathedral's landmark rectangular towers, but we still have no idea how extensive the damage to the iconic structure will be yet.
Demers says even if the organ was burned, the smoke and water would cause it severe damage and would potentially need to be rebuilt.
"I think even if they rebuild it, it’ll never be the same honestly," as Demers is just grateful she was able to see the structure before the fire.