In 1853, Catholic education was established in Plaquemine under the leadership of Father Charles Chambost, Pastor of St. John Church. He founded the College of the Immaculate Conception and a separate boys' school. This college was incorporated and authorized to grant BA and BS degrees by the State of Louisiana. In 1857, Father Chambost engaged the services of the Marianite Sisters of the Holy Cross, who came to Plaquemine to set up a school for girls, St. Basil's Academy. In 1858, the college, the boy's school, and St. John's Church was destroyed by fire. Father Chambost was financially unable to rebuild; heartbroken, he returned to France.
During the Civil War, St. Basil's Academy was closed and was occupied by Union soldiers. For safety, the Sisters were recalled to the Motherhouse in New Orleans where they remained for three years. After the Civil War, Catholic education suffered. In 1866, Father Victor C'Hemecourt opened a school for boys. However, the school closed in 1871 due to a shortage of funds. It did not reopen until 1886. Father M. Harnais constructed a new school building adjacent to the church in 1888. This building burned in 1907, and the first two stories of the present brick structure were rebuilt to replace it in 1910. Attendance at St. Basil's and St. John School for Boys grew rapidly in the 1900's.
Under the direction of Monsignor Leonard Robin, education flourished. In 1933, St. John Free School for Boys and St. Basil's Academy merged to form the present day St. John School. Monsignor Robin bought the property where the schools are located today. He showed great interest in this new educational center. The gymnasium was built and used for classrooms while the high school was being built. The high school, under the direction of the Marianite Sisters, was dedicated in 1960. The elementary school was opened in the fall of 1967.
St. John has survived fires, yellow fever, epidemics, wars, the Depression, and other financial hardships. Even in the midst of a global pandemic, the school today is a symbol of dedication, faith, and endurance and continues to be a major part of the Plaquemine community. Backed by a strong Alumni Association and a genuine investment in our community, we are proud to offer Catholic education to a new generation. Currently offering PreK 3 - High School education, many of our families choose to entrust us with their children from the beginning of their school years to the final moments before they enter the post-secondary education world. This continues the legacy of St. John School and its rich history and tradition.
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For other questions, please contact:
Elementary/Middle School Office
High School Office