The Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge seems anxious that no public attention be drawn to the final days at Redemptorist High School, barring news reporters from covering milestone events like graduation.
“Media will not be admitted to cover any school-sponsored events held on or off campus because we want to respect the privacy of Redemptorist students, their families, the faculty and the staff,” wrote Donna Carville, diocese media liaison, in a letter to local media outlets.
The process of closing Redemptorist Junior and Senior High schools has been emotional and contentious since Bishop Robert Muench announced in December that the schools would close at the end of the year.
The diocese has cited declining enrollment as the reason for shuttering the schools and anticipated having no more than 150 students enrolled at the high school next year.
But students, parents and alumni spent months waging a campaign to keep the school open and even asked the diocese to relinquish control of the school so the parents could run it themselves. They were not successful in getting the diocese to change its position on closing the school.
Redemptorist is now winding down and in its final weeks, with its last class of graduating seniors completing exams over the past week and receiving diplomas at the end of next week. In between are a series of events, like an honors award ceremony and senior breakfast, the media has been blocked from covering.
Parents and other Redemptorist supports have taken to their “Save Redemptorist” Facebook page to complain about the diocese’s stance toward the media, arguing that they want coverage of the school’s closure.
Broome getting early start on mayor’s race
State Sen. Sharon Weston Broome is off to an early start on her campaign to become East Baton Rouge Parish’s next mayor-president, and she already has a fundraiser planned for next month.
Mayor-President Kip Holden’s term runs through 2016, but he will leave his office early if he is successful in his run for lieutenant governor.
Broome, who has previously expressed interest in running for mayor, is holding a fundraiser from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Camelot Club, according to an event flier.
It lists several notable people in the community who plan to attend the fundraiser, including Star Hill Pastor Raymond Jetson, attorney Kris Kirkpatrick and Chicken Shack owner and former Louisiana House Speaker Pro Tem Joe Delpit, who once served on the Metro Council.
Others are Ben Jeffers, a business management consultant who served as chief of staff to former Gov. Edwin Edwards; Mike and Gaye Hollingsworth, partners in the Hollingsworth Richards Ford car dealership; and Donna Fraiche, a prominent health care lawyer.
Broome, a Democrat, succeeded Holden in the state Senate in District 15. She was previously a legislator in the Louisiana House of Representatives and a Metro Council member.
Possible other mayoral candidates include Republican Metro Councilman John Delgado and former Democratic Metro Councilman Byron Sharper.
New development chief on deck in Livingston
Livingston Parish leaders have announced several new industrial sites, a plant expansion, even a timeline for a new college campus in the past few months, and each time, members of the Livingston Economic Development Council were close at hand.
This week, the LEDC appointed a new chief to start May 11. Larry Collins will take over as president and CEO from Randy Rogers, who is retiring this month after four years in the position.
Collins previously headed the Louisiana Economic Development’s international business development program to attract foreign companies to set up shop in Louisiana, according to an LEDC news release.
He also was the director of business development for eight parishes in the Baton Rouge area, including Livingston.
He is now tasked with luring companies to the parish through the LEDC, which also owns the 200-acre Livingston Industrial Park in Walker.
Advocate staff reporters Andrea Gallo and Steve Hardy contributed to this article.