Paradis

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Marie Martin Labry - Image
Marie Martin Labry, a veteran teacher, stands beneath a painting of her great grandfather John Baptiste LaBranche. Courtesy River Parish Focus magazine.

Marie Martin Labry, great-granddaughter of John Baptiste LaBranche and sister of J. B. Martin, the “Father of St. Charles Parish Education,” was herself an educator.

One stop on her journey through the system was in 1914 at the Paradis School built by a Chicago firm called Louisiana Development Corporation. In an article in the River Parish Focus of January 1979, she shared some of her memories with Henry E. Yoes III.

“They were going to move the Courthouse there; they were going to move everything there (Paradis). They built a big building and called it a high school but it wasn’t. They were coming down here to develop this land and we were very, very glad. A bank was built and lots of cottages. Along the railroad there was a park and a big old gray hotel.

There was a moss gin and a saw mill. They even had street lights. At first they were very successful.” Unfortunately the settlement failed in later years. Mrs. Labry, however, was successful and flourished in the school system for forty-one years. She taught in many schools at many levels and apparently enjoyed all of it. When asked at the age of 86 if she had any regrets she said, “Yes, I wish I was still teaching.”

The Paradis School
The Paradis School built by a development company. In 1914, Ms. Labry (on steps, in black dress) was one of its teachers. (Source: River Parish Focus, January 1979)

This text is copyright © material by Marilyn Richoux, Joan Becnel and Suzanne Friloux, from St. Charles Parish, Louisiana: A Pictorial History, 2010.

Further Reading

Supt. of St. Charles Martin Fetes Jubilee
Times-Picayune
J. B. Martin, superintendent of St. Charles Parish Public Schools from 1913 to 1944, is called “the Father of St. Charles Parish Schools.” Martin was born in 1881 and was the great-grandson of Jean Baptiste LaBranche. He attended local schools but finished high school in New Orleans and graduated from Louisiana State University. It has been said that many of the great advances made in education in St. Charles Parish can be attributed to the determination and conscientious work of its first professional superintendent, J. B. Martin. J. B. Martin Middle School in Paradis is named in his honor.

A Spunky Little Lady
By Henry E. Yoes III
River Parish Focus
Vol. 1 No. 8
January 1979

Tante Keet’s Orchestra
River Parish Focus

The Fairyland of Reclamation
Times-Picayune
Dec. 7, 1913

Corn King Funk Invests in Large Tract of Louisiana Land
Times-Picayune
Dec. 18, 1910

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