Behind the stately red brick facade, there’s a whole world of activity buzzing at Kingsley House.

The center, 1600 Constance St. in the Irish Channel, was established in 1896 to help families in the largely immigrant neighborhood adapt to life in a new country. The early “settlement houses” offered language classes, child care and recreational opportunities to newcomers, mostly from Germany and Ireland, to help them “settle” into schools, jobs and homes.

It was a pioneering concept at a time when waves of immigrants were arriving in New Orleans and the country. Among the earliest services at Kingsley House were programs to fight tuberculosis, classes to teach young people job skills and free kindergarten for neighborhood children.

Nowadays, Kingsley House is busier than ever, serving hundreds of Irish Channel families. And while the clientele no longer speaks German, the center’s core mission is still the same: to improve the lives of people in the community.

Many of the programs have a familiar ring: Kingsley House offers nutrition and health-care monitoring to medically fragile seniors, after-school tutoring and computer classes and free Head Start and Early Head Start to the neighborhood’s youngest residents.

Kingsley House has always been aided by members of the community who want to see all families succeed.

The settlement house invites those supporters to its annual Friendraising Luncheon Tuesday, starting at 11:30 a.m., in the gymnasium.

Chef Donald Link, of Herbsaint and Cochon, is in charge of the day’s menu. Link is a consistent backer of Kingsley House who has been known to drop by to talk to the preschoolers about cooking and nutrition.

Entertainment for the afternoon is even closer to home: It features Kingsley House’s Adult Services “Drama Queens” and a preschool “jazz band.”

Sponsors for the luncheon include Bellwether Technology, Bertucci and Labiche Private Wealth Management, DMM Associates, Entergy, Freeman Decorating Company, IBERIABANK, ILA Local 3000, Kullman Firm, Landmark Consulting, Link Restaurant Group, McAlister’s Deli, Swanson Insurance, Tonry, Brinson & Glorioso LLC and Tapestry Linens.

Guests will be asked to make a donation to Kingsley House during the program. For more information or to reserve a seat, contact Gina Jackson at (504) 523-6221 ext. 127 or via email at

A younger, busier Lakeview

The Lakeview Civic Improvement Association is trying a general membership meeting on a weeknight, with child care, rather than its usual Saturday morning meeting time. In May, the LCIA will hold its bimonthly meeting at 7 p.m., Tuesday, May 14, at St. Dominic Gym, 632 Memphis St. Visit

Annette Sisco is Community editor. She can be reached at (504) 432-9257 or at