Recreation department offers year-round options

Published 6:30 am Monday, July 28, 2014


LAPLACE — When it comes to keeping a child safe, half of the battle can come down to simply keeping them occupied.

Enter the St. John the Baptist Parish Recreation Department, which offers a number of activities that give the community’s young people an outlet to keep busy, have fun and to socialize with others sharing similar interests.

“We’re able to provide some ways to give children something to do and keep them off the street or from having to stay at home alone,” St. John Parish Assistant Director of Recreation Debra Poche said.

With the summer upon us, perhaps the first idea of fun that springs to mind is the swimming pool.

The recreation pools are open six days a week: they are closed Monday, open Tuesday through Thursday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.; and Saturday and Sunday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. The Eastbank pool is located at Regala Park in Reserve while the Westbank pool is located at 136 Castle Dr. in Edgard.

In addition, the department just completed the Ashley Kelley Swim Program, which was established two years ago in memory of the program’s namesake, who drowned in Lake Pontchartrain at the age of 12.

“Her sister dedicated herself to teaching others how to swim,” Poche said. “She wanted to help as many people as she could. The program really helps the children with their technique and teaches them how to be safe in the water.”

Basketball is another popular pastime, and indeed there are a few outlets to shoot hoops. At the Regala Park gym on Monday and Wednesday nights, the parish offers basketball free play, allowing youths to play on the court free of charge from 6 to 9 p.m. each night. Transportation is provided as well.

Those times are pushed back from 9 to 11 p.m. during the recreation department’s basketball season, which typically begins the week after Thanksgiving. Registration to play in the recreation league is held from August through September.

While registration is currently closed, baseball season runs from May through July. Registration to play on a team in league play begins as early as December.

Children aren’t the only age group that can partake in recreation activities, either: for those looking to get in shape, Zumba classes are offered for adults on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Council on Aging building on Regala Park Road.

“It’s been very popular,” Poche said. “We’ve typically had from 20 to 30 people attend. Sometimes we’ve had as many as 40.”

For more information, one may visit or call 985-652-9569.