St. Gerard Majella was founded in September of 1945 by the School Sisters of Notre Dame. At that time, through the generosity of Mr. Harrison Carr, the office building of the United Gas Pipe Line Company served as a temporary school until the new combined church and school building was completed in 1946. The school began with grades one through eight, and each classroom housed 70-90 students. Enrollment for the 1945-46 school year was 293. St. Gerard Majella was the only Catholic school within a ten mile radius at that time and there were sharp increases in enrollment each year.
If you look at the cumulative records of the 40s and 50s, you’ll see Catholic children from blue-collar plant workers and local business families. The cafeteria was constructed in 1953, the permanent convent was completed in 1955, and new classrooms were added above the cafeteria in 1956. Upon completion of the new church in 1957, the parish began to convert the first floor of the school building into classrooms, finishing in 1958. School enrollment subsequently increased each year until it reached it greatest number of 2,124 for the 1960-61 school year.
From 1960 through 1965, four other Catholic elementary schools opened nearby which at the time relieved the overcrowding in the classrooms.
In 1963, the school divided into a K-6th grade elementary school and a Junior High School, also adding to the elementary school the Madonna Center, which now serves as the community church hall.
The School Sisters of Notre Dame, called to minister elsewhere to children in need, left the school after the 1984-85 school year. We anticipate their return to us in the near future.
The school added Pre-K for the 1985-86 school year for a short time until 1989. Pre-K4 was reinstated in 1998 and continues today with class size maxing out at 20 per classroom in the Guardian Angel wing of the building.
St. Gerard Majella merged with students from St. Isidore parish, in Baker, Louisiana, that closed its school doors in June 2010. The name unofficially changed to Redemptorist Elementary. The Redemptorist order of priests support the education and religious education of students still today. When Redemptorist High School, a 7th -12th grade configured school closed its doors in May 2015, the incoming 7th graders joined the school for the 2015-2016 school year and the name unofficially changed to Redemptorist St. Gerard. The name reflected the blending of yet another school into this historical building. The school is retaining the Redemptorist St. Gerard School name as we now have our first 8th grade class! We want to make it official-we are alive, spirit-filled and promoting pride and passion to continue the Wolfpack nation (Redemptorist and St. Gerard Majella) legacy.
From the school’s inception, dedicated Sisters and lay teachers along with generous parishioners built a familial community and a tradition of educational excellence. Today, the parish is called to serve local students, of every denomination, with a loving, Christ-centered community full of value-based education, academic excellence, and instilling a love of learning in all our students. There remains a strong love for St. Gerard and Redemptorist and its tradition in North Baton Rouge.