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LPTFA joins effort to preserve and restore Holy Rosary Institute

Posted at 10:58 AM, Jul 30, 2020

The group trying to restore the historic Holy Rosary Institute has created a new partnership.

The Holy Rosary Redevelopment Board and the Lafayette Public Trust Financing Authority announced Thursday a new partnership to further the work of revitalizing the historic Holy Rosary Institute campus; earlier this week the LPTFA Board of Trustees voted to approve a three-year agreement with Holy Rosary to fund the hiring of an executive director.

The Holy Rosary Redevelopment Board has been successful in raising more than $4 million in grants and other state funding to help stabilize the structure of the building, Board President Dustin Cravins said.

Having a full-time executive director will help push forward the work of construction, as well as fundraising and long-range planning for the future of the site, which is expected to include both health care and educational components, Cravins said.

“This is the result of years of hard work by dedicated volunteers,” Cravins said. “The impact that this school has had on generations of students cannot be overestimated. We must preserve and celebrate this legacy, so that future generations will be able to learn from and appreciate this history.”

The LPTFA is a public trust that was formed to benefit the city of Lafayette. The LPTFA decided to help fund the work at Holy Rosary because of the significant historical and cultural value of the school to the city of Lafayette, LPTFA Board of Trustees Chairman AD Daniel said.

“Not only does restoring that site preserve an important historic building, we also hope it will help drive further investment in that area of our city,” Daniel said

Holy Rosary is more than 100 years old and was for a long time the only school for African American children in this area, and for years after that the only Catholic school for African American kids. The Holy Rosary Institute was founded as a Catholic school for African-American girls in the late 19th century and moved to Lafayette in 1913. The school became co-ed in 1947. It was closed by the Diocese in the 1990s and abandoned, and fell into disrepair. About 2010, the Diocese transferred ownership to the order of nuns who had run the school.

In 2010, an LSU doctoral candidate wrote a dissertation about the history of the school. It has many details on the history of the Institute, as well as photos of students, the school and faculty, and lists of prominent alumni. You can read it here.