Orphanage

Established as an orphanage for boys in 1925, this Spanish Colonial Revival-style campus sits on 10-acres. The campus includes eight historic buildings, all built between 1925 and the early 1940s. Additional buildings were later constructed to accommodate girls and students from a deaf institute. The minister who oversaw this rapid expansion immigrated from Holland as a seminarian. The orphanage was owned by the Archdiocese of New Orleans and staffed by nuns, priests, and volunteers from the Catholic church. Many of the children were sent to live at the orphanage by court order as wards of the state. Some were there because their parents were unable to raise them for reasons including mental and emotional instability.

Orphanage
The administration building housed classrooms, a refectory, and dormitories. In 1929, two large wings were added, each with dorms, dining areas, and study and recreation halls.
Orphanage
The painted figures along the hallways are reminiscent of its original use as a trade school. Once the children completed grammar school, they were allowed to learn a trade. A dozen trades were taught including woodworking, bookbinding, and farming.
Orphanage
The orphanage became so revered for its vocational training that parents attempted to board their children. However, their efforts were in vain since only those who were in absolute need were accepted.
Orphanage
The buildings were designed by a distinguished local architect, whose collection of work includes many notable churches and rectories.
Orphanage
The residential portion of the orphanage closed long ago, but services for at-risk youth were offered well into the 21st century.
Orphanage
Today, the buildings stand empty and moldering, but things are beginning to change. Plans call for government offices to move into the old buildings once they are renovated.
Orphanage
Behind its ornate facade, the orphanage holds a much darker past. The institution was tarnished by revelations of abuse.
Orphanage
 A lawsuit filed against the church alleged that a number of children who are now adults were subject to physical, mental, and sexual abuse by priests and nuns while at the orphanage.
Orphanage
The abuse was hidden from public view for decades. A total of more than $5 million in settlements were paid to victims.

Orphanage

Orphanage

Orphanage
Restoration on the campus is set to begin soon. Local and state politicians are working to restore and preserve the buildings for future use.

7 Replies to “Orphanage”

  1. Your photos are amazing. It is as if we are walking back in time. The stories behind the walls reminds us all that what is in the dark, eventually comes to light.

    Like

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