Student Handbook: II – Lasallian Education, Religion Program, and History of De La Salle

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Since 1680 educational institutions in more than 80 countries have been influenced by the vision and innovative spirit of Saint John Baptist de La Salle, the Founder of the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools and the patron saint of teachers. De La Salle transformed education by forming a community of educators with whom he developed a spirituality of teaching and learning, to give a human and Christian education to young people, especially the poor.

Lasallian Education centers on Catholic values and personal relationships, emphasizing academic excellence, faith formation, inclusion, respect for the individual, service and social justice. A Lasallian Education strives to enrich each student’s cultural, intellectual, physical, social and spiritual development.

Today, the De La Salle Christian Brothers continue to respond to students through advancements in teaching, technology and scholarship. In Lasallian communities, educators touch hearts, stimulate minds and cultivate leadership to prepare students for life, work, and service to society and the Church.


De La Salle High School is named for Saint John Baptist De La Salle, the founder of the Brothers of the Christian Schools.

De La Salle was born April 30, 1651, in Rheims in the north of France. As a young man, John Baptist became a priest and Canon of the Cathedral of Rheims. Through the admirable movement of Divine Providence, De La Salle became aware of the plight of the young boys of his era and, with the first Brothers, established the Christian Schools.

These early schools were centered on young people and attentive to their needs. They were open to all and were known for creative systems, which called schools to function well. The teachers in the Christian Schools saw themselves as Ministers of Grace, maintaining the schools together and by association. The school and all in it were to announce the Good News of God’s unconditional love and to live this reality in their lives.

De La Salle died in 1719, leaving a congregation of religious teaching Brothers and bequeathing an extraordinary educational tradition to the world. In the course of developing the educational tradition, De La Salle furthered popular education and fostered the idea of the simultaneous method of teaching. He insisted on teaching in the native language rather than the classical Latin, and he developed teacher-training schools.

On May 24, 1900, John Baptist De La Salle was officially proclaimed a saint of the Roman Catholic Church. In 1950, he was named Patron Saint of All Teachers by Pope Pius XII.

The Lasallian Region of North America/Région Lasallienne de l’Amérique du Nord (RELAN) encompasses Lasallian education in the United States and Canada. It is one of five Regions in the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, which sponsors one of the largest education networks in the world. About 5,000 De La Salle Brothers and more than 80,000 Partners minister in about 1,000 schools and training centers serving approximately 850,000 children, youth and adults in 80 countries. The Brothers are in four American districts: Eastern North America; Midwest; Francophone Canada; and San Francisco/New Orleans.




De La Salle is a Catholic school which follows the tradition of the Brothers of the Christian Schools.

An essential part of the academic program of the school is the Religion curriculum. Every student at De La Salle takes a Religion class as part of the curriculum. Students are required to pass this course each year or to make up any failures in summer school prior to graduation.


The Religion class curriculum is guided the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) framework which follows.




Church History, the Life of John Baptist De La Salle.


Sacred Scriptures, Who is Jesus Christ?


Paschal Mystery, the Church, and the Sacraments


Personal and Social Morality (Social Justice)/Capstone Project


Ecumenical and Interreligious Issues


Note: In addition to the classroom work, De La Salle has a Religious Practice Program that is essential to its self-understanding. Students are required to take part in all mandatory parts of the program.


The Spiritual Life program is under the direction of the Campus Minister.

  • Retreats/Formation: Students of every level are required to participate in a grade level organized retreat or a formative exercise each year.
  • Religion class: Students are required to attend a religion class each year that they are enrolled in De La Salle High School.
  • Daily Prayer: Daily prayers are said by both students and faculty. Refer to the opening page of the handbook for copies. Prayers are said at the beginning of each class and at the beginning and end of each day.
  • Liturgy: Students participate in school and class liturgies during the year.
  • Service: In keeping with the curriculum, teachers may require direct service to the underserved as part of their assigned work. These projects are under the direction of the Campus Minister.



1936. Permission is granted to the Provincial, Brother Arsenius, FSC, to organize a fund drive to construct a new school in New Orleans.

1949. De La Salle High School, which begins with a freshman class of 74 boys, continues an educational dream of the Christian Brothers which began in Louisiana over a century before. (The Brothers of the Christian Schools had arrived in Louisiana in 1817 and had taught in New Orleans; Baton Rouge; Galveston, Texas; and Pass Christian, Mississippi. The Brothers withdrew in 1900; however, they returned to the Archdiocese of New Orleans in 1918 at St. Paul’s School in Covington.)

Gilbert Academy is acquired. Since the Academy building is not suitable, it is demolished to begin construction of a modern plant facing St. Charles Avenue. In the interim, the old Peck mansion on Pitt Street serves as a Brothers’ residence and a school. In September, Brothers Ernest Cocagne, August Faure, John Devine, and Francis Vesel open the doors of De La Salle Catholic Boys High School. Brother Ernest serves as first Principal.

1950. De La Salle High School expands to include St. Joseph’s Hall on Valmont Street. The school cafeteria is built at the same time.

1951. De La Salle moves to the present building on St. Charles Avenue erected by the Youth Progress Program of the Archdiocese of New Orleans.

1952. On March 2, the school is officially dedicated by his Excellency, Archbishop Joseph Francis Rummel of New Orleans.

1953. The school receives approval from the State Board of Education and graduates its first senior class.

1957. A freshman wing of eight classrooms on Leontine Street is added. The school also receives approval from the Southern Association of Secondary Schools.

1961. The gymnasium is constructed on the site of the demolished St. Joseph’s Hall. A student chapel is also built behind the school’s main lobby.

1976. A General Preparatory Program is begun, enriching curricular offerings.

1980. The General Preparatory Program is expanded with the introduction of the Special Education Program. The three-story Brother Arsenius Center is completed and occupied. This new addition to the campus houses the cafeteria, library, the Phil Harris/Alice Faye Theatre of the Arts, and additional classrooms.

1984. De La Salle establishes a Gifted Program allowing for more scholastic diversity and independent work.

1989. The offices of President and Curriculum Coordinator are added to the administrative organization of the school. Brother Paul Walsh, FSC, is named first President of De La Salle.

1992. De La Salle welcomes girls into the student body and a uniform dress code is adopted for students.

1995. De La Salle adopts a college model for scheduling the academic program.

1996. De La Salle earns national recognition as a Blue Ribbon School for Excellence in Education.

1998. De La Salle becomes the first school in New Orleans to initiate a drug-screening program for all students.

1999. De La Salle celebrates its 50th Anniversary.

2001. The Brothers of the Christian Schools celebrate the 350th Anniversary of the birth of Saint John Baptist De La Salle, the Founder of the Christian Schools and the Patron Saint of all teachers.

2002. De La Salle breaks ground on the largest Capital Improvement Campaign in the history of the school….De La Salle Lead On!

2003. Phase I of the “Lead On” campaign is completed with the Introduction of the renovated lobby, new student commons, the Buck Seeber Health and Fitness Center and the James “Jimbo” Reily II weight room in the gymnasium.

2005. De La Salle High School is the first high school in Orleans Parish to open Post – Hurricane Katrina.

2007. The De La Salle Brothers’ residence on Pitt Street is demolished and “green space” is prepared for use by the student body.

2008. The construction of the Life Sciences Center at De La Salle is dedicated in the name of very generous benefactors. It includes state-of-the-art laboratories for the study of Biology, Chemistry and Physics. The Life Sciences Center is named for veteran faculty member, Dr. Felix Gaudin, Dr. & Mrs. William St. John LaCorte and former student and alumnus James “Jimbo” Reily.

2009. In early April, the school dedicated the newest building on the campus, the 3,400-square-foot Shane and Holley Guidry Baseball and Softball Complex practice facility. The building, which is adjacent to the John J. Altobello Sport Complex, is equipped with two advanced ProBatter Professional Baseball Simulators, which are capable of delivering up to nine different pitches at speeds up to 95 mph. The facility also features open space for practice.

2011. De La Salle High School was accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation of School Improvement and received 11 commendations.

2012. De La Salle High School celebrated the 20th anniversary of co-education. The school also recognized Dr. Warren Caire, AFSC, for 50 years of dedicated teaching and service.

2012-2013. De La Salle created a “Collaboration Room” and “Creativity Room” on campus under the leadership of President Michael Guillot. The school also recognized Mr. William Hebert, AFSC, and Mr. Donald Stabiler, AFSC, for 44 and 48.5 years respectively of dedicated teaching and service to De La Salle High School.

2014. De La Salle recognized Ms. Kathleen Calder, AFSC, and Ms. Peggy St. John, AFSC, for 33 years and 32 years respectively of dedicated teaching and service to De La Salle High School.



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