In 2005, disaster struck the Gulf of Mexico. Hurricane Katrina made landfall and left nothing but destruction in her path. The state of Louisiana was faced with challenges that would affect every aspect of its residents’ lives. The St. Bernard Parish School District was left with a number of buildings that needed repair.
The St. Bernard Parish Lacoste 9th Grade Academy in Chalmette started their reconstruction shortly after the hurricane. The building was designed by Lachin Oubre and Associates in Louisiana. The project included the educational building and the field house. The educational building is three-stories tall and overall, 57,000 square foot. It included science and computer labs, classrooms, staff lounges, and administrative offices. The field house is a one-story building that is shared with the high school. It houses a gym, fitness area, wrestling gym, and natatorium with an Olympic sized pool. The front of the building is enhanced with a large circular glass block column. The project came back to life with a partnership between Lachin Oubre and Associates Architects, Landis Construction, Rush Masonry, and GBA Architectural Products + Services.
Lachin Oubre Associates is a third-generation architect firm that has been in business for 70 years. They serve greater New Orleans and across the gulf coast. Lachin worked closely with St. Bernard Parish School District on their administrative building, Chalmette High School athletic facility and many others. Rush Masonry, founded in 1989, provided their expertise in masonry, stone, and waterproofing.
When GBA got involved with the project we collaborated on design and details and subsequently creating the shop drawings. We gave pertinent direction through shop drawings on all dimensioning and detailing for the two-story radius at the front of the school and all other glass block openings. Proper dimensioning and anchoring were critical to allow independent movement from the surrounding substrates. Following all manufacturer specification is second nature to us after 35 years in the industry.
The transparent block used allowed a view of the inside of the building with its architectural spiral staircase. During the evening hours it was a welcoming beacon for the neighborhood clearly accounting “we’re back and better than ever.” The view through the detailed spiral staircase showed the colorful and vibrant community outside.