Reynaud: Doing his civic duty by Vanessa C. Deggins
EDITOR’S NOTE: You may recognize the names
around town on schools and street signs, but do you know the story behind
the people? In a series of stories for Black History Month, Vanessa C.
Deggins explains how these people distinguished themselves locally.
BY VANESSA C. DEGGINS
Middle School and Foreman-Reynaud Community Center are named for a longtime
local teacher and principal who combined a half-century in education with
Ralph C. Reynaud was born in Evergreen in Avoyelles Parish on Oct. 22,
1885. He received a bachelor’s in education from Southern University in
Baton Rouge and a master’s from Atlanta University.
He began his teaching career in 1904 in Morgan City. He then taught at
schools in Iberia, Calcasieu and Beauregard parishes before joining the Lake
Charles city school system in 1914.
He was a principal at Second Ward School — later renamed Mill Street —
and the first principal of W.O. Boston High School.
On top of his 49 years as an educator, Reynaud — “Reny” to his friends —
received numerous state and national awards for his civic activities.
The American Red Cross gave him a certificate of merit for his service
during and in the aftermath of Hurricane Audrey, which killed hundreds in
Southwest Louisiana in 1957.
After he retired from teaching in 1953, he served as president of the
Louisiana Education Association.
On Nov. 3, 1964, a newly built school was dedicated as Reynaud Middle
School. The article in the American Press at the time described the school
as an “ultra-modern, fully air-conditioned facility.”
Reynaud died in 1969.
He was honored in 1979 when the Foreman-Reynaud YMCA was rededicated.
The YMCA opened in 1973 at 215 Albert St., where it remains as a community
The Rev. Edmon Burnice Foreman, the community center’s other namesake,
founded Colored Charities, the main fundraiser for the building. Foreman was
also president of the Lake Charles NAACP chapter.
Reynaud Middle School, named after longtime
local teacher and principal Ralph C. Reynaud, was dedicated on Nov. 3, 1964.
SHAWN MARTIN AMERICAN PRESS
Submitted by Geri St. Romain Hebert of Dora. Geri always had a special place
in her heart for Evergreen, although she did not attend school there.
Perhaps this was because of the positive influence of her Aunt “Bat” St.
Romain (Mrs. Jack).
Published by the Lake Charles American
Press, February 3, 2009.