An elementary school in Iberia Parish was the first in the area to make historic changes during the Civil Rights Movement.
Black and white students were integrated into one school. Here’s ‘a glimpse of Hidden History’ that shaped the culture of Loreauville.
Two generations of men walked the same hallways. “We were going next door where the old school was,” said John Anthony Sr. “The new school was built in 1953. We moved in, in 1954.”
The men are recollecting their days in the Village of Loreauville on Railroad Avenue.
“It’s basically like a hidden treasure right in front of your face,” said John Anthony. “Then I had to find out the history of it. I realized that my father attended here you know when it was a black school and I came when it was integrated,” he added.
Loreauville ‘Colored’ Elementary School is still faintly sketched in this memorial plaque today.
It was the first in the parish to experiment with integration in 1958. “We had three brothers from here. They moved them to the high school and they had to fight every day,” said Anthony Sr.
After moving black students to the white schools as a test, Anthony Sr. said it was a brutal transition that took nearly six years for the town to adapt to.
“It made improvements in the kids. They learned how to live together, instead of living in separate worlds. We all live in one world. Under one God. It brought us all together,” said Anthony Sr.
In 1969 the school was officially an integrated school. It not only paved the way for black education, but it opened the doors of opportunity for those like his son.
“This was actually the start of my singing career. I have to give this school, the people that were involved in this school props for that because it allowed me to see the world,” said Anthony.
He started a band with his brothers, traveled the world and came back home in 2016. he noticed the school became a vacant building and wanted to change that.
“What can we do as a community to bring this together,” he added.
Accomplishing his ancestor’s wildest dreams, Anthony transformed the old school into a state of the art event center, keeping memories of the past still intact.
“The great fight that we had is proof that he’s able to do what he’s doing today. It’s the fight that we fought to bring him there,” said Anthony Sr.
“Everybody wants to do something in life and I think I did it,” Anthony added.
Loreauville Elementary School is now located at a brand new facility on Ed Broussard Road.
The multipurpose center where the former building stands is called ‘At the Old School.’