The River Region Drama Guild, Inc. has undertaken the exciting project of saving an abandoned school within our community and transforming it into a thriving performing arts and cultural center for the citizens of our community.
The Good Hope School was built in the 1930s to provide an education for the children from the small towns of Good Hope, New Sarpy, Norco and Destrehan, Louisiana -- a rural area which prospered on the growing oil industry. Located on a two-lane winding road on the east bank of the Mississippi River, the school eventually was vacated and used as storage following the end of the oil boom.
Today, the community of Good Hope no longer exists. In recent years families have moved and surrounding industries have purchased all of the homes. The local school board decided to sell the blighted piece of property on which the school was located. Although offers were made by local industry to buy the land and building, the St. Charles Parish School Board decided to save the school and lease it to the River Region Drama Guild for the purpose of creating a performing arts and cultural center.
The school that was once a place of learning, now is getting a chance for a new life as the River Region Performing Arts and Cultural Center (RRPAC). Extensive renovation have been done on the roof as well as the first floor with much more to be done on the second floor of the building. Working on limited resources and volunteer time, the efforts to restore the school building is slow to fruition. Despite its size, the old school building stands out among the towering industries that surround it. The center will one day be a haven for local actors, dancers and performers of all ages, in addition to those who want to enjoy the experience of the arts.
Although the River Region Drama Guild has been successful in obtaining financial support for its program services, funding from United Way and Louisiana Decentralized Arts Fund are restricted from use on capital improvements. The Guild’s past funding for capital improvements has come from its savings generated through membership fees, donations, etc. It has taken over ten years to accumulate the funding that has been used over the last three years to accomplish the current renovations.
The Guild is fast exhausting its reserve of funds for capital improvements and is currently seeking additional financial support to continue the building’s renovations. The current improvements will secure the second floor and transform this space into rehearsal rooms as well as the construction of a new warehouse building on the rear of the property. The River Region Performing Arts and Cultural Center's goal is to carry on the tradition of the Good Hope School and provide an opportunity for members of the community to learn, grow and share their talents with others.