St. Jude the Apostle Catholic Church
9150 Highland Road, Baton Rouge, LA   70810
(The corner of Highland Road and Gardere Lane)  phone: 225-766-2431;  fax: 225-766-0722

Parish History


The Parish/Church

St. Jude the Apostle Parish was established by decree of the Diocese of Baton Rouge on September 9, 1966 .  The care of the new parish was assigned to the Southern Province of the Congregation of the Holy Cross.  There were 600 families at the time.  For the first two years, Mass was celebrated in the auditorium of Magnolia Woods Elementary School on Maxine Drive .  The rectory was located at 145 Highland Park Drive .  The Parish Hall was constructed first and served as the church and general meeting area for the entire parish for the next six years.

            The new and permanent church building, along with the priest’s residence (now the Ministry/Education Bldg), was completed in late 1974.  The Reverend Clement H. Funke, C.S.C., was appointed founding pastor.  He was the first of several Holy Cross priests to serve in the diocese.   Until his death, The Reverend Edwin D. Bauer, C.S.C., who was assigned to assist the Reverend Daniel  Walsh, C.S.C., in the non-Catholic hospitals and nursing homes in Baton Rouge , assisted at St. Jude by offering Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation.  The Reverend Allen L. Cormier, C.S.C., was assigned as the first associate pastor of the parish in the summer of 1974.  Later, Fr. Ed and Fr. Harrell assumed the leadership of the parish.

            The boundaries of the parish include areas south of Louisiana State University , formerly belonging to the Parishes of St. Aloysius and St. George, and up to Siegen Lane . The church, rectory, and parish hall are located on a ten-acre site at the corner of Highland Road and Gardere Lane .  At that time there were over 2,200 families in the parish.

            The Reverend Monsignor Patrick Gillespie, P.A. Vicar General of the Diocese of Baton Rouge, on August 22, 1975 , the Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen, consecrated the altar of Texas shell stone.  The relics of the holy martyrs entombed in the altar are those of Sts. Gregory, Orasius, and Titus.  The Stations of the Cross were also erected at the same time.  Both the stations and the crucifix are carved from linden wood and were obtained from artists in Italy .  The same artists also carved two statues, our patron St. Jude and the Blessed Mother.

            John A Bani A.I.A. was the architect for the church and rectory (now the Ministry/Education Building).  General contractor was the Albert H. Hart Corporation.  Engineers for the new buildings included: Perrault & Perrault, Inc. (Structural), William J. LeBlanc (mechanical),  and Joel I. Forrest (electrical).

            Fr. Michael Collins began as Pastor in 1984, and through his 13-year tenure was joined by Associate Pastors: Fr. Walter Kersey, Fr. Trey Nelson, Fr. Joel LaBauve, and Fr. Duane Breaux.  In the late 1980’s, with the addition of more parish personnel, a new rectory was built facing Highland Road (on the hill).  The old rectory was expanded to accommodate needed office space and meeting rooms.   The church interior also underwent a facelift.

            In 1992, with private contributions from parishioners, stained glass windows were designed by artist Stephen Wilson and installed throughout the newly renovated church.              

             Fr. David Allen celebrated Mass as St. Jude’s new pastor in the summer of 1997, assisted by newly ordained Associate Pastor, Fr. Michael Miceli.  Fr. Michael was transferred to Immaculate Conception Church in Denham Springs in 1999, and Fr. Francis Lonakutty was named the new Associate Pastor.  Fr. Francis served until June, 2001, when he was transferred to Most Blessed Sacrament Church.  Fr. Christopher Decker spent a year as the Associate Pastor beginning in July 2008.  

In 1999, with the parish membership thriving, plans were made to convert the rectory on Highland Road to Administrative Offices.  A new rectory was purchased and remodeled across the street at 9137 Highland Road .  The old administrative offices were converted to meeting rooms and the building was named the Ministry/Education Building.   The Pastor and the Administrative team moved into the new offices on Highland Road in the Spring of 2000.  

Fr. Trey Nelson became pastor of St. Jude in July, 2009.  Currently, the Parish personnel includes the following: Fr. Trey Nelson, Pastor; Frank Bains, Deacon; Curt Reeson, Deacon; Mary Rogers, Director of Religious Education; Charmaine Biossat, Director of Ministries; Jennifer Robeau, Office Manager; Cindi Langlois, Bookkeeper;  Linda McVay, Receptionist/Secretary; Christie Guillory, D.R.E. Assistant; Claudette St. Amant, Assistant to Director of Ministries; Larry Waguespack, Director of Facilities; Warren Scott, Assistant to Director of Facilities; Karen Jakuback, School Principal.

The School

The groundwork for St. Jude School began in 1978, when the parish was about 12 years old.  A study was undertaken to assess the needs of such a young parish.  It became clear that the desire to offer the best possible Catholic religious education was a major concern for the parishioners.  An innovative CCD program was begun and classes were held in the Parish Hall.  Because of the growth associated with this area, it was soon apparent that it was necessary either to renovate the Parish Hall or to construct a new multi-purpose building.  The expansion of the CCD program pointed to the need for a school for the parish, as more and more children of St. Jude could not get into the already overcrowded facilities of St. Aloysius.  A special Ad Hoc Committee was formed to evaluate the situation.  This committee included:  Bernie Atkinson, Harvey Honore’, Rhaoul Guilluiame, John Smith, Chuck Toney, Jerry Baudin, Fr. Larry Young, and Fr. Ed.   A recommendation was made to the pastor, Fr. Ed, and he acted immediately.  In January, 1981, he sent a letter to Bishop Joseph Sullivan requesting permission to plan a multi-purpose building that would include provisions for its future use as a school building.  Permission was granted, blueprints were drawn up, and the building became a reality.

            At the same time, the School Board of St. Aloysius was petitioned with the unique request of establishing an extension of St. Aloysius School on the campus of St. Jude.  The multi-purpose facility at St. Jude would provide the spaced needed and St. Aloysius would provide the experience and administrative leadership in the person of Mr. Alan Powers, Principal of St. Aloysius School.  The plan was tentatively approved for one year and was supported by Sr. Mary Magdalene, Superintendent of Diocesan Schools, as well as the Diocesan School Board.  

            The groundbreaking ceremony was held in October, 1982.  Construction was completed in August, 1983.  The school on the campus of St. Jude opened as planned on August 24, 1983 at 9:00 a.m.   On the opening day, there were two Kindergarten classes, one First Grade and one Second Grade class.  The Office consisted of a secretary and part-time principal.  Faculty/Staff members included:   

v     Mr. Martin Davila – Grade Two

v     Mrs. Claire Weaver – Grade One

v     Miss Marion Curet – Kindergarten

v     Mrs. Donna Bolton – Kindergarten

v     Mrs. Jane Neal – Secretary

v     Mr. Alan Powers – Principal

From the opening day, classes have been full at St. Jude School .   The lunch program, coordinated through the work of “Woodie” Barrient and Kittie Falgoust, operated well, with lunches prepared by Trinity Episcopal School and transported to St. Jude.  A small section in the back of the St. Aloysius yearbook that following year listed the pictures of the students on the St. Jude Campus. 


            New Pastor, Fr. Michael Collins arrived at St. Jude Parish in 1984. Kathy Meares was hired as Assistant Principal with Mr. Powers as Principal.  The school consisted of two sections of ½ day Kindergarten, two First Grades, one Second Grade, and one Third Grade.  The total enrollment in 1984 was 154 students. The classes averaged 25 students per section and the school produced its first yearbook.


            St. Jude School stood on its own, no longer operating as a part of St. Aloysius.  Mrs. Kathleen Meares was named principal, a section of Fourth Grade was added, and Kindergarten had two sections; one morning and one afternoon.  Teachers ate lunch with the children, performed all the duty tasks, supervised their own classroom recesses, and taught their own Physical Education and Music.

            The multi-purpose building soon was “busting at the seams.”  Remodeling had taken place to accommodate al the new students; however, it was apparent that more room was needed.  Construction then began during the 1986-87 school year on the elementary building.


            During the 1986-87 school year, Enrichment classes were added in the form of P.E. and Music.  Ms. Kieran Landry was the original P.E. Teacher.  Band was offered, but interest waned after one year. A Fifth Grade section was added and Kindergarten remained half-day sessions.


            The new Elementary Building opened in August, 1987 to grades PreK-6.  A second section of 5th Grade had been added because of the large number of students enrolling.  Additionally, the addition of a Pre-K class suited 21 students.  Enrichment still consisted of Music and P.E.  The St. Jude Home and School Association formed a committee to come to the school and present an Art lesson once a month.  A Sixth Grade classroom was added.  A school Library formed (Mrs. Tina Temple was original Librarian) and was first situated in the large middle classroom on the upstairs floor of the administration building.    The growth of the school was evident in the organization of school clubs:  Just Say No, Science, Drama, 4-H, and Cougar Chronicles.  A sports program was born, complete with cheerleaders. 


            The First Jr. High class, a self-contained 7th grade, formed.  Clubs grew with the addition of the Jr. Beta Club and an Art Club.  The Reading Resource Center was opened, under the direction of Mrs. Sue Brandao.  The school’s first Grandparents Day celebration took place in the church, with a huge crowd attending, under the direction of Music Teacher, Ms. Cristal Corbett.


            One Eighth Grade Section was added.  (The school’s first graduating class).Jr. High started to departmentalize.  Band was introduced again and a Student Council formed.  Once again, a committee was formed to evaluate the facilities and a decision was made to construct a Parish Activity Center .  The building was complete by May, 1990, and the school’s end-of-the year musical was the first program in the center.


            The Parish Activity Center was officially dedicated.  A bookkeeper, Mrs. Peggy Aymond, was added to the staff as well as a Computer Teacher, Mrs. Linda Thomas.  An after-school extension program was also formed.  And, for the first time in the school’s young history, the students were able to eat in the newly constructed school cafeteria.


            Construction of a new Library/Science Building began.  An Assistant Principal, Mrs. Karen Jakuback, was hired.  An IBM Writing-to-Read Computer Lab was made possible through a federal grant and was housed in the activity center.  The school was now full with two sections of each grade.  Mrs. Kathleen Meares resigned as Principal in May, 1992.


            The new Library/Science Building was dedicated.  Mrs. Joy Wagener assumed the role as Principal.  Mrs. Terri Callender was hired as the school’s Art Teacher.  In addition to the regular classroom curricula, Enrichment studies included Art, Music, Physical Education, and Computer.  A Development and Religious Education Office formed – Mrs. Sherry Seal became the part-time Development Coordinator, and Mrs. Mary Rogers, became the part-time Religious Education Coordinator.  (Both of them taught in the mornings and assumed the other roles in the afternoon).


            A second Physical Education Teacher, Mrs. Tanna Moses, was added.  Mrs. Mary Margaret Bains was hired as Administrative Assistant to assist with the office workload and to assist in further departmentalizing the Math and Reading Programs of the Middle School.


            An elementary Math Resource Center was established with Sheila Howard as the director/instructor.  The middle school’s Math department was further leveled with the addition of Mrs. Colleen Halbert.  The school reached its peak – averaging 35 students per classroom, with the exception of Pre-Kindergarten.  Because Mrs. Seal had left due to her illness, Mrs. Mary Rogers assumed the role as Religion/Development Director for the school


            After much discussion on the School Board level, foreign language was added to the Enrichment schedule.  Mrs. Dana Hornsby joined the faculty as the school’s Spanish teacher.


            With 667 students, the school year began with a packed house.  At the beginning of this year, there were six full-time and four part-time teaching assistants, with 31 faculty members and an eight-member Administrative and support staff.  An Athletic Association formed and Intramural sports began for Pre-K through 4th grades.  The school offered Cheerleading, Cougarettes, Football, Boys and Girls Basketball and Track, Girls Volleyball, Quiz Bowl, Band, and Honor Choir.  Spanish classes were extended to grades 5th-8th and Computer was offered to all grades.    The school’s computer lab shined with 26 brand new Gateway computers that were installed before the second semester began.  Fr. Michael Collins, after 13 years of service in the parish, was transferred to Most Blessed Sacrament Parish and School.


            Fr. David Allen was appointed Pastor of St. Jude Parish, with Fr. Michael Miceli serving as Associate Pastor.  Ms. Kieran Landry officially left the P.E. position, and Mrs. Nola Richard was hired as Mrs. Moses’ assistant.  Mrs. Dana Territo assumed the position of Religion/Development/Computer Director when Mary Rogers moved to the parish level.  Middle School grade leveling began in the subjects of Math and Reading .  Mrs. Donna Bolton was named the 1998 Wal-Mart Teacher of the Year.   The Baton Rouge Jr. Jaycees named Mrs. Dottie Hartman the Outstanding Young Educator.  


            The school reached the 21st century by getting wired!  Hubs, fiber-optic cables, etc. were all newly learned vocabulary terms for faculty and staff.  The school officially went on-line and a new software grade program was reviewed.   Mrs. Sheila Howard received a National Math Award at the NCEA convention in New Orleans .   Mrs. Joy Wagener was named Outstanding Diocesan Elementary School Principal this year.  She resigned her tenure as Principal in May, 1999 and the search for a new principal began. Fr. Michael Miceli was transferred to Immaculate Conception Parish in Denham Springs.


            Fr. Francis Lonakutty, from India , was appointed Associate Pastor of St. Jude Parish.   Mrs. Karen Jakuback, formerly the school’s Assistant Principal, was appointed the third Principal of St. Jude School.  Spanish was taken off the Enrichment schedule.  A Computer Technologist, Mrs. Cat Reibe, was added to the Administrative Staff, as well as a part-time Guidance Counselor, Mrs. Angelle Saia.  Additionally, an elementary part-time guidance counselor, Mrs. Bonnie Mart, was hired on a contract basis.  The Athletic Association split its leadership with Mr. Wayne Lemoine and Mrs. Tanna Moses both sharing the position of Director.  Mrs. Sue Brandao was named Wal-Mart Teacher of the Year, 2000.  


            Fifty-five faculty and staff members began the year with a student enrollment of approximately 651.  The school’s new Science Teacher, Ms. Shawn Kleinpeter, returned to her alma mater to teach that subject.  (She was a member of the first graduating class). The Athletic Association voted to expand the cheerleading squad to 10 students in each grade level of 6th, 7th and 8th.   The grading system was now on computers.  Teachers expanded their learning styles to integrate with technology.  Mrs. Janette Saylor was named the 2001 Wal-Mart Teacher of the Year.  Mrs. Sue Brandao and Mrs. Peggy Fairchild received recognition by the RAINBOWS organization for their hard work and dedication to the school’s program.   The MathCounts club members were recognized for numerous honors for their high achievements in tournaments during the year.


            Fifty-six faculty and staff members began the year with a student enrollment of approximately 640.  The School Board changed its name to “School Advisory Council.”  Dana Territo moved to be Director of Ministries at the parish level, and the Religion/Development Office split with the hiring of two staff members:  Mrs. Sylvia Kress, Religion Coordinator; and Mrs. Kelly Elliott, Development Coordinator.   Mrs. Angelle Saia became full-time Guidance Counselor.   The Computer Lab was re-evaluated and plans were underway to lease machines and to upgrade the present Computer Lab, under the direction of Mrs. Donna Bolton.


revised 7/02