Monsignor John Disch Memorial Gymnasium

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Every Place Has a Story

The Monsignor Disch Gym has long been a center of community gathering for the members of the Catholic High family. From basketball and volleyball games to bi-weekly All-School Masses, the gym always proves to be the place that breathes life into the spirit of Catholic High. Also, students know that they dare not trod on the newly polished gym floor, at the risk of being scolded by a protective coach. The gym is always a hub of the CHS family, always hustling and bustling with life, faith, and love.

The gym has a classic wooden plank floor that is always kept glistening for the use of various sports and activities. There are signs that line the walls, exhibiting the athletic achievements of CHS sports teams. The gym has several different purposes, some of which are Speech Night, Renaissance Festival, and bi-weekly All-School Masses. According to Mrs. Joyce Babineaux Indest, MCA Class of 1942, Speech Night is a tradition that was inherited from Mt. Carmel Academy. It promotes the speaking abilities of students and also helps students to develop important communication skills. As described by Mrs. Eugenie Segura, coordinator of the Renaissance Festival, “Ye Olde and Young Renaissance Festival is a cross-curricular project in the seniors’ English IV and World History classes. The students research, plan, and conduct a day of authentic crafts, activities, and performances for the Catholic High 4th and 5th graders and the St. Edward’s 3rd grade. Both seniors and the elementary students look forward to this fun learning experience.” The gym is also home to the school’s All-School Masses that serve a crucial role in uniting the campus around the central belief of  Catholic faith: the Eucharist.

The Monsignor Disch Gym is a part of the original structure of the school. It is attached to the Cheryl Courrégé Burguières Library on its left. The library is also a structure that is original to the school; however, it housed the cafeteria until 2005. It is connected to the other buildings of the school by the common breezeway that acts as a main artery for the lifeblood of Catholic High.

On August 24, 1992, the Catholic High family suffered a nearly devastating loss. As Hurricane Andrew blew through south Louisiana, the roof was completely ripped off of the gym. This caused high amounts of moisture to enter the structure, and the gym floor and bleachers were destroyed.  Later, the roof was replaced, and the gym floor and locker rooms were repaired. At this time, the original marble slab floors in the hallways and locker rooms were covered in ceramic tile, as can be seen in the photo above where some of the ceramic tile has come up. This same flooring can still be seen in the 100, 200, and 400 halls, which were also built with the original structure of the school. In 2010, the wooden manual bleachers were replaced with modern, motorized bleachers.

The gym is dedicated to Monsignor John Disch. Msgr. Disch was appointed pastor of St. Peter’s Catholic Church in New Iberia in 1973 by Bishop Gerald Frey. He was the first pastor appointed to St. Peter’s who had been a parishioner in his early life. He was known for his service as an altar boy in his youth. He received the Sacraments of Baptism, Penance, Holy Eucharist, Confirmation, and Holy Orders in his home parish of St. Peter’s, and he never imagined that one day he would be the pastor of it. One notable accomplishment of Msgr. Disch was that he saw the need for a cry room. He saw to it that one was built towards the back of St. Peter’s. He oversaw many different construction projects, including Loffland Halls I and II; therefore, he gained the honorary title of “Vicar of Architects.” He had very strong convictions about the quality of Catholic education. After fifteen years, it was time for Msgr. Disch to move on to a new church parish. He stated that it would be more difficult to leave New Iberia than it was to leave his previous assignment in Franklin. It is fitting that this vibrant building is dedicated to him.

 

A Picture Is Worth 1000 Words

 

Today, the gym adorns images of the Panther mascot and the school crest, as shown by the above image of the front of the gym on a sunny day.

Above is a school mass in progress in 1969.

The same configuration of chairs and sanctuary furniture is used for school masses today.

The 1970-1971 basketball team receives inspiration from a coach

 Coach Andrea Broussard’s Physical Education classes play various games during their class period.

The May Pole can be seen above. At the Renaissance Festival, students hold each rope and braid them around the pole as a demonstration for the children.

Various placards showing the achievements of CHS sports teams are displayed on the walls of the gym.

A plaque found on the entrance shows that the gym has been dedicated to Monsignor John Disch. (1915-2006)

References

“After the Storm.” Hurricane Andrew—Ten Years Later. 2006. Web. 14 May 2012.

Babineaux-Shea, Harriet, Joyce Babineaux-Indest, and Verna Babineaux-Patout. Personal Interview. 3 Apr. 2012.

Jeanlouis, Christopher. The Msgr. Disch Gym. 2012. Photographs. Private Collection.

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

The Panther 1969. 1969. Print. Catholic High School, New Iberia, LA.

The Panther 1971. 1971. Print. Catholic High School, New Iberia, LA.

Segura, Eugenie. Email to author. 20 May 2012.

Segura, Eugenie. Ren-Fest. 2012. Photographs. Private Collection.

“St. Peter’s History.” The Parish History of St. Peter’s Catholic Church of New Iberia, Louisiana. 2011. Web. 14 May 2012.

 

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