History

St. Pius X School has a rich history of providing quality Catholic education to elementary school children. Without the parish, there would be no school, so our history begins in the church.

St. Pius X Parish includes territory that was originally part of three parishes: Our Lady of the Rosary, St. Dominic and St. Frances Cabrini. Between 1950 and 1953, the Most Reverend Abel Caillouet, Auxiliary Bishop of New Orleans and pastor of Holy Rosary Parish, began celebrating Mass each Sunday in the Lake Vista Community Center. The Lake Vista area was a mission of Holy Rosary Parish. The Lakeshore area, which was part of St. Dominic Parish, and the Lake Terrace area, which was part of St. Frances Cabrini Parish, were added to Lake Vista to comprise St. Pius X Parish. With donated funds, the first church-school-rectory building was constructed and dedicated on August 16, 1953. Father Michael Killoughey served as our first pastor, and the Sisters of St. Joseph were placed in charge of the school.

In August, 1953, the school began classes for kindergarten through sixth grades and gradually added to its enrollment as the parish grew. The parish was originally named after Blessed Pius X and was not called St. Pius X until May, 1954, after his canonization. As Pope, he had taken as his motto “to renew all things in Christ,” which has come the central mission of the parish.

In early 1955, the initial parish rectory was completed. To further advance educational opportunities, the parish constructed a new school building adding 15 classrooms and a cafeteria in time for the reopening of school in August, 1957. Father Killoughey was succeeded as pastor by Monsignor Arthur T. Screen in 1963.

The permanent church, designed in 1963, has been noted for its striking roof that rises in orchestrated planed from almost ground level to more than 75 feet above the church floor. The new church was an example of a church in the found with a seating capacity of 800, all within 60 feet of a central altar. The church was dedicated by Philip M. Hannan, Archbishop of New Orleans, in 1966. In June, 1974, the Sisters of St. Joseph, who had led the school from the beginning, retired from St. Pius. Mrs. Judy Brooks became the first lay principal, a title she maintained until 1991.

As enrollment continued to increase, new programs were introduced and additional space was required. In the fall of 1983, the new rectory, parish administration, school administration, and multi-purpose buildings were dedicated. This addition provided administrative facilities for our school, along with a large new library, computer labs, art room, and science lab. The parish also gained the use of two meeting rooms, which could be combined to accommodate larger gatherings. The new rectory provided administrative office and living space.

In 1991, Monsignor Clinton J. Doskey was appointed pastor. The same year, Pamela Fulham became the school’s principal and continues to serve the St. Pius X School community in this capacity still today along with our current assistant principal, Deirdre Macnamara, who joined the St. Pius School family in 2009. Msgr. Doskey inherited Fr. Screen’s dream of building a gymnasium on the school campus, and in 1997 the new Fr. A.T. Screen Gymnasium was dedicated. Extensive renovations were done to convert existing facilities into new space for the school.

In 2005, the city of New Orleans and its surrounding areas were devastated by the flood waters of Hurricane Katrina. St. Pius X Church and School were blessed not to have flooded; however, storm winds peeled the church’s copper roof off. During the period immediately following the storm, the St. Pius X campus served as the hub of activity for many of the first responders in the area. The Massachusetts National Guard made the gymnasium, cafeteria, courtyard, and volleyball courts their home for several months. Immediately following their departure, the New Orleans Fire Department and several fire engines from around the country were stationed at St. Pius while offering fire protection to the entire city.


In January of the following year, our school reopened. That semester, parents, teachers, and students joined together to undergo accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). The school received official accreditation by the nationally-recognized association in the fall of 2006. St. Pius X School was also recognized as a No Child Left Behind National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence in 2007.

Msgr. Doskey served as pastor for 20 years until he retired in 2009. Fr. Pat Williams, who came to St. Pius as Parochial Vicar in August, 2007, was appointed pastor in July, 2009. Three years later, Msgr. Doskey passed away and Fr. Jonathan Hemelt joined the parish shortly after as Parochial Vicar. Since he has been pastor, Fr. Pat has erected the AIA-award winning Blessed Seelos Adoration Chapel and Prayer Garden adjacent to the church. He built a new rectory that is large enough to comfortably house him, Fr. Jonathan and a seminarian, and he transformed the old rectory into office space. Under the direction of Fr. Pat and Mrs. Fulham, the school and surrounding parish campus continue to grow with the times.

St. Pius X is open to all qualified students regardless of race, nationality, ethnic origin, or handicapping conditions.