A vow was fulfilled giving birth to Catholic education in Holy Savior Parish in 1879.
During the 1878 yellow fever epidemic, Father Peter Letilly of Lockport was at the shrine to Our Lady of Lourdes. He prayed that if his parish were spared, he would establish a school and place a statue of Our Lady in the parish.
Lockport was spared. Fr. Letilly called on the Congregation of the Immaculate Conception (Labadieville) to send a few sisters to Lockport to open a school. The statue of Our Lady remains on our campus.
On May 1, 1879, formal classes began in a little cottage on the corner of Tenth and Vacherie Streets. In 1881, the school moved to a new building facing the “public road” (Main Street) and advertised under the name Convent of the Immaculate Conception, offering besides Religion, all the basics, plus French, Music, and Fancy Work. Boys and girls attended, but were in separate classrooms and play areas. Many of the girls boarded.
A hurricane destroyed that school in 1893. While waiting for the new one to be built on the same spot, the school again used the original cottage on Vacherie Street, but this time the sisters moved their convent to a house across the street since their enrollment had increased to about 80. The new school was occupied in 1899.
The Catholic Bishops of the United States made a commitment to religious education and decreed that every church parish must have a parochial school. Archbishop James Hubert Blenk asked St. Sauveur to oblige in 1906. The nuns sold the new school on Main Street almost immediately. Plans to build a larger school on the sisters' property ("The Foret Land") just south of St. Sauveur Church were cancelled. The school would now become a parochial one instead of private, and it would be located on church property.
The school moved back to the cottage until the completion of St. Sauveur School in 1911. By this time the enrollment had reached 110, so the move to this spacious three-story structure was a joyous one. It afforded living quarters for the sisters on the third floor, plus large classrooms on the second floor, and an auditorium and bathroom facilities on the ground floor. Sister Rita Naquin served as the first principal.
During the next thirty years, the educational program continued to offer the same subjects, but began to move toward a high school curriculum. The first student with a full high school course graduated in 1918. A few students graduated each year from 1918 on, but State accreditation was being sought so graduates could qualify for college with a Holy Savior diploma. Accreditation was achieved in 1930. More high school courses were added, a library was organized, a Mother’s Club came into being, and enrollment picked up.
Expansion became necessary, and, in 1940, under the leadership of Fr. Dominic Perino, a new two-story red brick facility was constructed. It was built using $10,000 loaned to the parish by Fr. Perino, and it provided a Chemistry and Physics lab, a centralized library, a commercial lab, a principal’s office, and several more classrooms. The school was really a full-fledged high school now and moved forward to excel in athletics, music rallies, and various extracurricular activities. In 1951, Fr. Perino donated funds for a gymnasium. That same year a new convent was built, freeing the third floor of the old building for use as classrooms. (This convent still stands today.) Some years after this however, the third floor of the old building was condemned as unsafe. Thoughts again turned to erecting a new school.
Plans were at blueprint stage when the Archdiocese decided that this central and southern Lafourche area needed a Diocesan school, so the new school was constructed for this purpose. The doors to Holy Savior Central High School opened in the fall of 1964 to students from Raceland to Golden Meadow, in the building that Holy Savior Catholic School operates in today. With an excellent faculty headed by Mr. Richard Champagne, the first lay principal ever appointed by the Archdiocese, Holy Savior continued to offer exceptional Christian opportunities, and, in 1970, the Southern Association of Secondary Schools accredited the school.
For the first time in its 93-year history, Holy Savior suffered a setback. Rising costs and decreasing enrollment made it necessary to close the high school. Students, parents, and friends tried desperately to raise the necessary funds, but in June 1972, the high school closed.
The elementary school was continued with Ms. Marie Toups as principal and grades 1 through 6 moved into the building which had been built to house the high school. The following year in 1973, Mr. Edward Daigle was appointed principal, and a part-time kindergarten as well as seventh grade was added to the school. In 1981, a deaf education program staffed by the School Sisters of Notre Dame became a part of Holy Savior School. Because of declining enrollment, the seventh grade was discontinued in 1983.
In 1986 Ms. Rhea Dill was appointed principal. During her tenure the school opened a Louisiana licensed full or part-time Nursery School. The seventh grade was added again in the 1998-1999 school year. That same year the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux approved expansion to include eighth grade for the 2000-2001 school year. At the close of the 1999-2000 school year Ms. Rhea Dill retired and Mr. Gerard Rodrigue, Jr. was appointed principal for the 2000-2001 school year. Mr. Rodrigue was principal from 2000-2006. Around 2004, lead was found within the paint of the Perino Center, making it unable to be used as a space accessible to students. Mrs. Marie Annette Parfait was appointed principal in 2006. Also during the 2005-2006 school year, a modern, new cafeteria was completed to fix the absence of a cafeteria caused by the inability to use the Perino Center. Ms. Parfait was principal from 2006-2011. Mr. Blaine Degruise was appointed principal for the 2011-2012 school year and the 2012-2013 school year. Mrs. Tricia Thibodaux was appointed principal for the 2013-2014 school year.
In 2019, due to low enrollment, sixth through eighth grades ("middle school") closed. Holy Savior plans to be able reintroduce sixth through eighth grades in the near future.
As of the 2019-2020 school year, Holy Savior Catholic School will include a Nursery One program through fifth grade with a state-approved curriculum and certified teachers. The stellar educational program contains daily Catholic religious instruction, a strong emphasis on hands-on learning, and attention to developing the entire individual. The Holy Savior Community looks to the future with hope and anticipates that local families will continue to avail themselves of the privileged opportunity of “The Holy Savior School Experience."
(History updated July 2019)