St. John Berchmans Catholic School
947 Jordan St.
Shreveport, LA 71101
ph: (318) 221-6005
fax: (318) 425-0648
Focusing his efforts on improving Catholic education, Bishop Durier's first pastoral letter directed that a Catholic school be established near every church. He organized the first Catholic school board in Louisiana in the year 1889. This board is credited with increasing the number of schools in the diocese from four in 1885, to 23 in 1904. Five of these schools offered children of color the opportunity to receive a Catholic education. During the administration of Bishop Durier (1885-1904), six new parishes and a number of mission chapels were established. Included among the new parishes was St. John Berchmans.
By 1924 parish membership had grown to the 3,000 mark and a larger church was needed. Plans were drawn up and a new site in the 900 block of Jordan Street was purchased. On July 31, 1927, the cornerstone for the new church was laid. One year later, in June 1928, the new church was finished; seven months after that on January 16, 1929, the church was consecrated.
St. John's continued to grow and for years the parish had felt the need for a parochial school in addition to the current high school. The initial portion of St. John's grade school was completed and the school opened in September 1949 with six grades. Two more grades were added later. Other classrooms and a gym were added in later years. Included in the original faculty were six Sisters from the Order of the Daughters of the Cross who remained with St. John Berchmans for several decades. Both St. John's High School and Elementary school operated under the Jesuit order until October 1988, when Fr. Edmundo Rodriques, S.J., announced that the Jesuits would relinquish the duties to the Diocese of Shreveport. By this time in 1988, St. John's High School had been renamed Jesuit High School in 1960 then Loyola College Prepatory School in 1982.
In his brief history of the Jesuits' stay in Shreveport, Rev. Edgar Tiblier, S.J., wrote, "It is part of Jesuit life that when our superiors feel the work of the Jesuits in a particular area is completed, the work is transferred gladly to the Diocese for administration by its clergy. I hope that during this period of transition, the parishioners will look forward to this greater growth and maturity in their Christian life, and that the friendship with the Jesuits will continue."
The site for the first church and school was on Texas Avenue. The High School was known initially as St. John's College. Listed among the earliest students were Joe Slattery, Tom Tanner, Bill Stringfellow, Claude Valentine, John Cashore, Mareom Giambra, Walter and Ed Jacobs and Lamar Kimball.