On Dec. 21, 1992, the Louisiana Secretary of State recognized the incorporation of the Louisiana Child Caring Foundation — the entity that eventually became the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation.
In recognition of our 25th anniversary, we’re catching up with grantees, starting with our 23 classes of Angel Award honorees.
Gerard Barousse Jr. is founder and chairman of the Bayou District Foundation. The organization leads the planning and development of Columbia Parc.
After Hurricane Katrina devastated the New Orleans area, Barousse and his partners decided they wanted to help rebuild the community. They decided to turn the site of the former St. Bernard public housing development in to a “holistic community model”. The development includes a mixed-income community with schools, recreation and support services.
Columbia Parc’s 685 residential units are 100% occupied. Crime has reduced by nearly 100.
One of Columbia Parc’s biggest successes has been providing children with quality education. Over 90 percent of the students who go through the community’s early education programs arrive to kindergarten on-grade and ready to succeed.
In 2013, Columbia Parc started a “cradle to college education pipeline” that is now serving 168 Head Start eligible children ages 6 weeks to 5 years. Currently, the Bayou District Foundation is in the process of building a K-8 charter school, KIPP Believe, that will further their goal and is scheduled to open in 2018.
After Barousse was honored as an Angel, the organization used the grant to provide 85 teachers who will impact 1,000 students with more training and certifications.