Another educational component was added to the mix in 1959 when another parochial elementary school, Sacred Heart, opened in Norco. The school remains open in 2010 serving the children of the church parish as well as students from the region.
Desegregation of Public Schools
In the early 1960s, the parish school system began to plan for desegregation of public schools. The voluntary integration of schools began in 1965–66, but it was not until 1969 that total integration of all schools occurred. Diligent and deliberate preparation by the administrators, faculties, and staffs and the cooperation of the parents and their children facilitated the implementation of integration.
Years later an incident took place which temporarily threatened the stability of the system. A tragic shooting occurred on the edge of the Destrehan High School campus. One student lost his life, another’s life was changed forever, and the lives of many others were greatly affected by the incident. With time and a concerted effort on the part of the school system and the community, Destrehan High and the rest of the schools of the district resumed orderly operations.
The schools of St. Charles Parish, whether public, private, or parochial, have enjoyed excellent reputations over the years. Innovative techniques, sound financing, community support, nationally accredited teachers, strong administrators, as well as parents and students who are engaged in the learning process have all contributed to their success.
Although limited high school classes were offered for African American students as early as 1947 (west bank only), it was not until the fall of 1952 that new comprehensive high schools were opened on each side of the Mississippi River. Further changes came with the desegregation of schools.
This text is copyright © material by Marilyn Richoux, Joan Becnel and Suzanne Friloux, from St. Charles Parish, Louisiana: A Pictorial History, 2010.