The History of Saint Francis Xavier
Holy Family Academy, the first Catholic school for Blacks in Baton Rouge, was located on Florida Street, the site of the present Main Post Office. This school was operated by Holy Family Sisters. In addition to day school, the Sisters cared for boarders and orphans.
With the coming of the Josephite Fathers and Brothers to work with the congregation of the newly erected Saint Francis Xavier Church, a school was built in 1920. The Sisters sold Holy Family Academy and loaned the money to the parish to build Saint Francis Xavier Catholic School, the first parochial school in the Diocese of Baton Rouge.
On September 30, 1920, Saint Francis Xavier Catholic School opened its doors to an awaiting public, and is now the only predominately African American Catholic School in the Baton Rouge area attracting students from Plaquemine, Zachary, Gonzales and other areas around town. Since 1920, Saint Francis Xavier Catholic School has been entrusted with the education and development of our young children and its mission of educating the whole child continues.
After many years of sacrifice and hard work, in 1955 Saint Francis High School opened its doors to two hundred students. Under the guidance of Reverend Francis Carney, SSJ and the able direction of Sister Rose de Lima, SSF the school was quite a success. However, the future was not theirs to see. In 1961, the beautiful Saint Francis Xavier High School took a final bow and gave in to progress. The state bought the building for the interstate system. In June 1961, Saint Francis Xavier High School was torn down.
Against the odds, Saint Francis Xavier School continued to prosper. That same year the old elementary school, which had also served as the convent, was moved to the site of the present Saint Francis Xavier Church. A new school was constructed on the property, and opened its doors in 1963.
Saint Francis Xavier Catholic School is the only African American Catholic School in the Diocese of Baton Rouge. Its student body is composed of Pre-Kindergarten through Eighth grade. It has served the community well throughout its rich history, and continues to grow and thrive. As our enrollment increases, we remain focused on helping our children to excel academically, spiritually, culturally, and physically.
For ninety years, this institution has been the source of a Christian education and an academic foundation for thousands of Baton Rouge area citizens, Catholic, and Non-Catholic.