Sep 11, 2013 12:04 AM by Alex Labat
The Wilkins Stroud School in Kaplan is getting a new lease on life.
Back in November of 2011, the city bought the building from the Vermilion Parish School Board for over $120,000.
The city has started to transform the 2-acre property into the headquarters of the city's court and marshal's office.
The state is helping to pay for those renovations, with matching funds from the city of Kaplan.
But even though the building may be changing, it will be keeping it's namesake.
At the Holy Rosary Cabrini Catholic Church in Kaplan, Dolores Broussard is singing the praises of Wilkins Stroud.
"I was councilwoman for two terms over here at one time. I'm so glad that he is going to be involved in what goes on in Kaplan, because don't think his spirit is not involved because it is" says Stroud.
She was the first woman to be elected to the Kaplan City Council, something she says would never happen without the encouragement of Stroud, one of the first African American educators in the city.
"He could hardly walk but he had a stick that he'd get around with, and a lot of times he didn't have the little individual peppermints, he had the big sticks, so he had to cut it. But sometimes he was too weak to cut it so he'd let us cut it, and we'd get some big pieces then. Cher. He was so nice", says Stroud.
The church is across the street from the school, which will one day be the city's court.
Something councilwoman Eva Dell Morrison is excited to see.
"He deserved the best, and I'm sure the community of District A will be happy to see that the school will not be torn down", says Morrison.
The city plans on incorporating Stroud's name into the court, which Broussard says is fitting, because he was a man who knew how to discipline.
"If you didn't go to school you didn't get no peppermint candy. If you he knew you missed school that day, you could forget it you weren't getting any peppermint candy."
Kaplan Mayor Kirk Champagne says they expect the conversion of the property to be completed before Christmas.