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In the News

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Grand Ave. gym history deserves to be recognized

By Crystal Nix

The DeQuincy City Council met in regular session at the DeQuincy City Hall on Monday, June 12. The following items were discussed:

Joseph Eaglin recently made a trip to Baton Rouge to ensure that the Grand Avenue Gym is preserved as an important piece of DeQuincy’s Black Heritage. Eaglin filled out a lengthy registration form requesting the gym be placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

A brief history is told here:

The first African American school in DeQuincy was established at Evergreen Baptist Church in 1917. In 1919 a Rosenwald school was built on the corner of Jackson St. and S. Grand Avenue. The school complex consisted of three 1-story buildings and was known as “DeQuincy Rosenwald Public School.” The gym was built in 1950, and is in good condition, with few improvements being made to the building. The school was later integrated in 1970.

In 1990 the main building was demolished. DeQuincy’s Grand Avenue Gym has remained an important place for summer programs, community gatherings, and sporting events. The DeQuincy Colored High School and Grand Avenue High School hold reunions at the gym. This year’s reunion will be held the third week in July.

Notable alumni include:

  • Robert “Baby Face” Paige, who played for the Harlem Globetrotters;
  • Clarence Walker, pro-football player with Denver Broncos;
  • Dr. Roland Patillo, graduate of Morehouse Medical School, and pioneer of stem cell research;
  • Dr. Charles E. Coney, former principal of Grand Avenue, was in charge of the Civil Service testing department in Baton Rouge;
  • Lt. Col. Beauregard Brown, the highest ranking African American officer in the U S Army in the 1950s and served as a liaison between black and white troops.
  • Delores Pullard was once the tallest woman in the world, at 8 ft. 1 inch.

The 1964 Grand Avenue High School Boys’ Basketball team made history for the highest scoring game by defeating Cameron-Audrey Memorial High School with a score of 211-29.

Commendations

Councilman Mark Peloquin commended area citizens for the pride they take in preserving their heritage. He recognized the efforts of those who preserved the Old Town Hall Museum. He also, thanked Eaglin for the efforts he was making to preserve the history of the Grand Avenue Gym for future generations.

Bids to be Re-Listed

Several vehicles owned by the city had been listed for sale by bid in the newspaper with a minimum bid. These will be re-listed for sale by bid with no minimum, but with the city reserving to accept or reject the bids.

Authorization Given

Mayor Lawrence Henagan was authorized to re-sign a maintenance agreement between the State of Louisiana Dept. of Transportation and Development and the City of DeQuincy. The agreement is in regards to the mowing and litter pickup on state right-of-ways of highways outside the city limits. The state pays the city to brush hog the state rights-of-way which include: Hwy. 12, east and west to the Beauregard Parish Line; Hwy. 389 to Glasspool Rd.; and Hwy. 27 from Cemetery Rd. to the Beauregard Parish Line.

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