Holy rosary

Holy Rosary leads the way for repair and 40-acre redevelopment plan

The Lafayette Holy Rosary Institute redevelopment board on Tuesday ushered in a long-awaited effort to restore a historic part of the city’s black community.

With $ 4.5 million in public funding and an additional $ 450,000 from the National Park Service, the Holy Rosary Redevelopment Board is embarking on a three-phase plan to revitalize the old institute which was a center of black education during and beyond the Jim Crow era. It was founded in 1913.

“When we think of the history of the Holy Rosary and the contributions that have been made not only to this city, this community and this state, but this world, we owe so much to this institution,” said board chairman Dustin Cravins. Tuesday ground. breaking up.

“Lafayette would not be the Lafayette we know today; this community would not be the community we know today without this institution and the contributions of the people who have walked these corridors.

The institute was founded by the Catholic Order of the Sisters of the Holy Family of New Orleans and operated on Carmel Drive in Lafayette until 1993. Today the central building, at 105 years old with windows planked and a rotten balcony, sits on largely empty land that the redevelopment council plans to turn into a cultural, economic and spiritual center for the community, including a community center and a museum of culture and culture. black history in Acadiana.

The redevelopment of the Holy Rosary inaugurated on Tuesday, December 29, 2020 the first phase of the stabilization process of the old building of the Institute of the Holy Rosary.  The process will include demolition and debris removal, followed by stabilization of the roof, walls and ground.  Work is expected to start in the first half of 2021.

The first step in that process is now underway, said board executive director Corey Jack. Initial renovation inspections are scheduled for the institute’s central building in January to give an indication of how much work and remediation the building will need to be fully restored and used.

“From there, we’ll have what we need to move into the first phase, which is building stabilization, and then select the contractor and get the ball rolling in the first half of next year,” Jack said. .

The redevelopment plan includes facilities for a new Holy Family Middle School, which would expand the work of Holy Family Catholic School on St. John Street, as well as athletic fields, a community garden and a new park. Additionally, residential and commercial space will be included in a special sales tax district created last year to support the institute’s economic development efforts.

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These projects will depend on greater fundraising by the board of directors. However, the state’s $ 4.5 million initial funding for the state plan shows a commitment to its long-term success, particularly from Governor John Bel Edwards who worked with State Senator Gerald Boudreaux, the former State Representative Terry Landry Jr. and State Representative Vincent. Pierre, a former student of the institute, to obtain this funding for the Holy Rosary.

“It is a true statement to have the Governor express not only in his words but with financial support, how important this project is and how important it is as we move forward in our thinking about our community. “said Cravins.

State Senator Gerald Boudreaux speaks during a groundbreaking ceremony at the Holy Rosary Institute in Lafayette on Tuesday, December 29, 2020.

Cravins also thanked Joel Robideaux, former mayor-president of Lafayette and Shanea Nelson, former director of community development at LCG for their essential support. The building, which is on the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places, received a $ 450,000 grant from the NPS to help restore the building.

Boudreaux said the project deserves state support because of the services and opportunities it will provide to the community, which has seen decades of divestment. It is a project that will make a difference through “positive incentives and opportunities,” he said.

“So many times we invest in something that we are not sure about. I know it’s going to work, “Boudreaux said.” I believe it’s going to work, and we have the story that shows it because there are leaders in this community who came here when it was viable, when it was flourishing and there were opportunities there.

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