Group sponsors brick program

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 16, 2002


DESTREHAN – Memories of the old Destrehan High School, lost to a fire on June 1, 1977, will remain alive through a buy-a-brick program sponsored by the St. Charles Historical Foundation.

“It’s going rather slowly,” Marilyn Richoux, foundation member, said. “We still need to contact more of the graduates.”

The school opened in 1924, having been unanimously approved, 114-0, by a bond issue. It was located on a site donated by neighboring Mexican Petroleum (later Pan-American Refinery).

Seven contractors bid for the construction job and Haase and Barbay Construction won the contract with a bid of $63,376 for both this school and its twin, Hahnville High School.

The first faculty members for Destrehan High were named at a July 1, 1924 meeting. They included: principal James N. Poche, teachers Johne Bowles, L.A. Hutchins, Emily Poche, Mabel Riche, Ethel Lapolerie, Mercedes Subys, Lydia Bergeron and Lizette Mericq. Aubin Songy was the first assistant principal at Destrehan High and now lends his name to A.A. Songy Kindergarten Center.

The school received its official name at the school board meeting of Aug. 5, 1924, and it was accepted as complete on Sept. 13, 1924.

Through the years, 52 graduating classes passed through its doors before a new school building replaced it on Wildcat Lane.

Thousands of former students remember their days at the old Destrehan High, some of whom spoke of doing something to restore and enhance the site of the old school, now the front portion of the Harry Hurst Middle School grounds.

The foundation joined with the school board and the parish council’s Beautification and Revitalization Task Force to develop the buy-a-brick program.

The walkways of the front yard will be paved with inscribed memorial bricks, which could be labeled with the names of graduates, teachers and supporters, or an inscription of choice.

New landscaping, restoration of the original brick fence, special lighting and a mural of the old high school are also planned. Hundreds of bricks salvaged from the original demolition and carefully preserved will likewise form part of the design.

Engraved on the front of the original building were mottos: “He Profits Most Who Serves Best” and “Survival Value is Created on Foundation of Service.”

These will also be incorporated as part of the restored setting.

For prices on bricks, the first shipment of which has already been received, call 985-764-8959. Brochures are also available at the East Regional Library, River Road, Destrehan.

“We want to keep the project in the public’s awareness,” Richoux added.