The Site (History and Acquisition)

You Are Here: The Site

Every Place Has a Story

Catholic High School of New Iberia has a history like no other. The site sits on forty acres of land located off of Delasalle Drive. The school has transformed tremendously over the course of 100 years. The school started with basics: cafeteria, library, chapel, and school building. It now has two more school buildings, two gyms, a sports field for all athletics offered, as well as a new library, cafeteria, and chapel.

The corner of Delasalle and Admiral Doyle, however, was not always busy and full of life. It started out as sugar cane farming land. The land belonged to the Pesson family and ran along the major roadway. Because it was so close to this roadway, the location was easy to access and became a convenient location for the construction of a school.

The Pesson Family eventually donated their forty acres of farmland to the Christian brothers. The brothers insisted on keeping the name of their church parish, St. Peter’s, and St. Peter’s College was formed. However, it was not long before the bishop rejected the name because it was too location specific. The Brothers and Bishop later agreed on naming the new school its current name, Catholic High School.

The site was blessed in 1955 and construction was planned to start soon after. Architect Perry Brown, a St. Peter’s College graduate, was assigned to build Catholic High’s five original buildings. The finished buildings were dedicated on August 25, 1957.

The buildings did not have air conditioning until 1992. Instead, there were skylights and window walls that opened to let in a breeze. The heaters in the floor did, however, make for a comfortable winter. Students were known to walk around classroom barefooted to warm up their feet.

Up until 1964, the Christian Brothers who ran the school lived together in the original St. Peter’s College house on Main Street in New Iberia. They later rented a house across from the school on Delasalle Drive until the construction of the school, the chapel, and their on-campus housing was complete. The home now serves as an administrative office building, and the old chapel has recently been converted into an art room.

New additions were made to the school as the years passed. In the spring of 1970, the current football stadium was built, although the seats were wooden, not aluminum. In 1992, a new computer lab was granted to the school. Then in 2002, there was an addition to the middle school wing, expanding the hall. Also over the years, baseball and softball fields were added.

Another large addition was made in 2003 when the school constructed a new, larger cafeteria. This allowed the old cafeteria to be tuned into the current library and the old library was converted into one large classroom. Then in 2008, the old chapel was moved across the hall from the library by combining two classrooms; it is now able to fit more than 200 students and teachers. It is used every Tuesday Morning for weekday mass and once a month for all-school adoration. The most recent addition to the Catholic High campus was the new Matt Gym. It is located between the cafeteria and middle school buildings and is convenient when hosting more than one athletic or academic event. 

 

A Picture Is Worth 1000 Words

St. Peter’s College, New Iberia, LA.

Construction begins on the gym.

Construction of the high school hallways

View from the front of the school (gym to the left)

Architect Perry Brown’s Senior picture, SPC class of 1938

View of the site between 1957 and 1964

View of the site between 1964 and 1971

Overhead view of St. Peter’s College in 1957

The Christian Brothers’ off-campus house on Main Street.

 

References

Champagne, Peter. Catholic High School.2012. Photographs. Private Collection.

Hebert, Jamie. Personal Interview. 18 Jan. 2012.

Landry, Alfred “Smitty.” Personal Interview. 21 Mar. 2012.

Segura, Eugenie. “This is CHS.” Dual Enrollment English. Catholic High School. New Iberia, LA. 19 Jan. 2012.

 

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