St. John Parish War Veterans home to welcome veterans on June 1

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 14, 2007


Staff Reporter

LAPLACE – War Veterans in St. John Parish are about to have a place to call home.

Plagued by setbacks since its groundbreaking in May 2005, the St. John Parish War Veterans Home finished substantial completion on Thursday and will begin welcoming veterans on June 4.

The label of substantial completion means the Veteran’s Home needs only minor repairs for scratches and tile work and allowed work crews to begin setting up $1.2 million of equipment in preparation for the incoming veterans.

The $23 million home, located on Airline Highway in Reserve and originally slated to cost $17 million with a completion date of December 2006, was delayed by short-handed work crews after Hurricane Katrina’s devastation.

A total of 46 veterans have been granted housing, but 152 are expected when the facility reaches full capacity. Roughly 50 employees of the eventual 150 member staff have been hired, and more veterans will be accepted as new staff is brought in, according to Homer Rodgers, deputy assistant secretary for the operation of the Louisiana War Veterans Homes.

The original design of the 93,000 square foot facility remains intact, complete with a computer lab, library, arts and crafts building and a fishing pond. In the near future the pond will be surrounded by a pier and gazebo, constructed by the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

There are a total of 156 beds available in the building, including 39 intermediate care beds, 39 acute care beds, 31 self-help beds and 47 mentally impaired beds. Four of those beds are in isolation rooms.

The Veterans Administration paid for 65% of the total cost, with the other 35% covered by the state of Louisiana. The 25-acre build site was donated by St. John Parish.

Veterans and their families seeking application materials can obtain them on-line or at their local Veterans Service Office.

The application is available for download at and should be sent to one of several addresses listed on the web page. St. John Parish residents can also fill out an application at the Veterans Service Office at 102 East Airline Highway.

Not everyone who applies will be granted a spot, and eligible veterans must have served during a wartime period such as Vietnam, World War II, the Iraq War. It is not necessary that veterans were ever in a war zone.

&#8220We’re exited about it being open and being part of Reserve, LaPlace and the St. John community area. We’re excited about serving our veterans in Southeast Louisiana,” Rodgers said.