Nov 15, 2010 7:13 PM by Carolyn Cerda

Holy Rosary Renovations

For over 20 years, Holy Rosary Institute in Lafayette has sat vacant. Now, there's a new push to restore the dilapidated complex, one of the most endangered historic sites in the state.

"There is much to be done," said Gloria Linton.

Linton is a member of the school's alumni association. A group of alumni, along with community members have been pushing for renovations to the facility for years. Now, a change of ownership could help that effort.

Holy Rosary was built in 1913 and was used as a parocial school for African-Americans. It was operated by the Sisters of the Holy Family, which is a New Orleans-based order of nuns. They later gave the facility to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Lafayette. But now, the Diocese is planning to give it back. The Diocese says paperwork is underway, but the process could take some time.

"It's kind of like you're in purgatory right now. You just have to sit and wait. But, that's OK, it's worth it."

Linton says once the transfer is complete, the nuns plan to work with the alumni association and the community to restore the 3 story building. The plan is to create a community center that will also provide social services.

"We hope to have a health and social services area right in this building on the bottom floor and then a pharmacy in this building, too."

A grant writer is already in place to find the $8 million needed to fund the project. A project Linton says will not only restore the building but the history it has.

"This was really my foundation and this has really influenced my life since I was a little girl. If this is not restored, part of our history will be lost. The young people will never know what Holy Rosary was and what it did."

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