Catholic Schools




Gulf Coast Military Academy [1912]



The Gulf Coast Military Academy filed its charter in late August 1912.  Incorporators were: J.C. Hardy, L.D. Hardy and J.N. Pigg of Columbia, Tennessee and Robert Bruce McGehee (1884-1939) of Gulfport, Mississippi.(The Daily Herald, August 26, 1912, p. 3)


Dr. Robert Bruce McGehee (1884-1939), first president of the Gulf Coast Military Academy, died at Troy, Alabama on July 26, 1939.(The Daily Herald, July 27, 1939, p. 1)







The Seashore Academy, a private coed school which also acted as a boy’s boarding school, was chartered in Mississippi in June 1893 by Laz Lopez, F.W. Elmer, S. Picard, John Walker, E.J. Buck, H.T. Graves, E.W. Morrill, H. Otto, J.R. Harkness, George H. Dunbar, and F.B. Dunbar.  This educational institution was situated on the beach front at Biloxi about 500 feet west of the Biloxi Lighthouse.  It opened in September 1893 with Dr. George S. Roudebush (1829-1921), a Presbyterian minister, in charge.(Harrison Co., Mississippi Chattel Deed Bk. 1, p. 6 and The Biloxi Herald, July 1, 1893, p. 8)

The Reverend Dr. Roudebush was a native of Ohio.



The Biloxi Herald,“Biloxi Collegiate Academy”, September 17, 1892.

The Biloxi Herald,“Local Happenings”, July 1, 1893.

The Biloxi Herald,“Local Happenings”, July 1, 1893.

The Biloxi Herald,“Local Happenings”, July 15, 1893.

The Biloxi Herald,“Local Happenings”, July 1, 1893.

The Biloxi Herald,“Local Happenings”, July 15, 1893.

The Biloxi Herald,“Local Happenings”, July 22, 1893.

The Biloxi Herald,“Local Happenings”, July 15, 1893.

The Biloxi Herald,“Seashore Academy”, September 30, 1893.

The Biloxi Herald,“Local Happenings”, April 20, 1895.

The Biloxi Herald,“The Waif’s Outing”, October 12, 1895.

The Biloxi Herald,“Latest City News”, March 28, 1896.

The Biloxi Daily Herald,“City News”, June 5, 1900.

The Biloxi Daily Herald,“Charter of Incorporation of the Biloxi Sanatorium”, June 22, 1902.

The Biloxi Daily Herald,“City News”, December 29, 1903.

The Biloxi Daily Herald,“Necrological-Capt. A.A. Folkes”, January 2, 1904.

The Biloxi Daily Herald,“Heavy fire losses”, April 5, 1904.

The Biloxi Daily Herald,“After the fire”, April 6, 1904.

The Biloxi Daily Herald,“Sanatorium”, April 12, 1904, 1904.

The Biloxi Daily Herald, “”, November 17, 1904.
The Daily Herald,“Well known educator is visiting Biloxi”, April 18, 1911.

The Daily Herald,“Dr. George S. Roudebush dies at Ridgeland-was known in Biloxi”, July 28, 1921.





In early October, O.E. Thompson, local contractor, was given the contract to build an addition to the Sisters of Mercy school on Fayard Street.(The Biloxi Herald, October 4, 1899, p. 8)



In late August 1940, the L&N Railroad conveyed for $2000 a lot of .3 acres to the Catholic Bishop of Natchez. The lot was bounded by Thomas Street on the west.[Harrison Co., Mississippi Land Deed Bk. 236, p. 469]



The new Sister of Mercy Convent was dedicated on May 8th.(The Daily Herald, May 6, 1966, p. 1)

CLASS 1928
Father Keenan, Dean. 
Class Motto: "Our Aim-Success; Our Hope-To Win."  Class Colors: Pink and Green. Class Flower: Pink radiance rose

Inez F. Anglada; Thelma Durel; Terrel M. Harvey; Ernest F. Henley; W. Kenner Hunt; Aquina E. Lamm; Francis J. Lawrence; Lydia J. Ragusin Flickner; Ethel May Rider; Phillip A. Ryan; Louise B. Seymour; Claire E. Strayham; William P. Strayham; Mae W. Williams; and Joseph C. Wink.(The Daily Herald, May 30, 1928, p. 2)


New School

In early May 1933, the Collins Brothers began demolition of the old Sacred Heart school building before erecting a new school on the site.  They were awarded the $32,000 construction contract and the  new school structure was scheduled to be completed by September.   Architectural fees were $1280 and the congregation had to raise $4870 to pay the final cost of $33,280.  The Sacred Heart Academy was to offer a four-year accredited high school curriculum.  The building was planned to have fourteen classrooms and educate 400 children.  A 500 seat auditorium and gymnasium were included in the plans.  Father Peter Keenan was the pastor of Nativity B.V.M. at this time.(The Daily Herald, May 8, 1933, p. 1 and May 12, 1933, p.1)



The new Sacred Heart Academy was dedicated on September 13, 1933.  John T. Collins was the architect and the Collins Brothers contractors for the $32,000 structure.  The two-story, masonry edifice was built in the Tudor Gotic Revical style reflecting the Gothic Revival architecture of the 1901 Nativty B.V.M. Cathedral.(The Daily Herald, September   , 1933, p.  and Buildings of Biloxi , 2000, p. 102)



Buildings of Biloxi,  (2000 Edition)

The Daily Herald, “Sacred Heart School closes this week”, May 30, 1928.

The Daily Herald, "To begin tearing down Sacred Heart School next Monday", May 8, 1933, p. 1.

The Daily Herald, "Start razing old building", May 12, 1933, p. 1.

The Daily Herald, “Mavar re-elected President Sacred Heart alumni”, September 14, 1942.

The Daily Herald, “”,

The Daily Herald, “”,






Catholic school commenced on Point Cadet by Father H.A. Spengler circa 1911?



Bishop R.O. Gerow, Diocese of Natchez, dedicated the 100,000 St. Michael's School on Point Cadet on October 12?, 1946.



The Daily Herald, “Bishop Gerow to dedicate Biloxi school Tuesday”, October 11, 1946, p. 1.

The Daily Herald, “St. Michael's School dedicated", October 16, 1946, p. 1.
The Daily Herald, “”,
The Daily Herald, “”,




St. Mary’s Parochial of Mother of Sorrows Catholic parish was dedicated in early September 1916.(The Daily Herald, September 7, 1916, p. 3)



The Daily Herald, “New Parochial School Dedicated”, September 7, 1916.

The Daily Herald, “Biloxi has new school”, August 28, 1926.


ST. JOHN’S [1926]

St. John’s Catholic School was dedicated on September 3, 1926 on Main Street in the old Back Bay Public School. There were four grades with Sister Mary joseph and Sister Elalia in charge.(The Daily Herald, September 4, 1926)


A parish bazaar was held on the school grounds in early October 1926.  Among the food available for purchase was: creole gumbo, sandwiches, punch, soda pop, home baked cakes and pies, ice cream and candy.  There would be a dance and the Sisters had prepared a program with their pupils to entertain the audience.(The Daily Herald, August 28, 1926, p. 2)


Land acquisition

In September 1929, R.O. Gerow, Bishop of the Diocese of Natchez, acquired two lots on the northeast corner of Lameuse Street and Bradford Street from Charles B. Foster and William H. Kelley and Henrietta Kelly for $6650.  The church lot had about 140-feet on Lameuse Street and 188-feet on Bradford.(Harrison Co., Mississippi Land Deed Bk. 183, pp. 456-457)


Father P.J. McGlade (1893-1980) was appointed pastor of the newly created Parish of St. John’s.  He was ordained into the priesthood in Ireland and his first assignment in America was as assistant priest in Bay St. Louis.  Father McGlade’s first parish was St. Mary’s of the Pines at Chatawa, Mississippi.  He came to Biloxi from St. Patrick’s in Water Valley, Mississippi.  Until a rectory was built, Father McGlade was domiciled in a rental house on Fayard Street.  Mary McGlade (1895-1973), his sister, became Reverend McGlade’s house keeper.(The Daily Herald, September 4, 1931, p. 5)


1950-1951 NEW SCHOOL


Ground was broken in mid-October 1950 for a new, $53,431 St. John parochial school behind the Bradford Street rectory.  B.L. Knost was the general contractor for the six-class room, brick structure; Ray V. Pisarich-plumbing; August Tremmel & Son-roofing; and Philip Dellenger-painting; Henry Schwan Jr.- electrical; and John T. Collins & Associates-architects.  Father Peter Killen was the pastor of the parish.(The Daily Herald, October 13, 1950, p. 7) 


St. John Catholic School Football ca 1954-Back Bay Park


[L-R: Bottow Row-Don LaCoste; Jimmy Cook; UK; Patrick H.  Roberts (1944-2009); Tony Corso; Mickey J. Bellande; UK; UK; UK; Steve Bowen (1943-2005); Jimmy Manduffie; Ed Conway.  Middle Row: Ray L. Bellande; Jules Galle'; Ronnie Roberts; Jack Acevedo; UK; UK; ? Gilbert; ? Parker; Joe Joe Arceneaux; Wallace Tiblier; Joseph Hungerford; Roland Roberts; UK.  Top Row-Jack Pickich (1921-1974); Father Peter Killen; UK; Pete Alley; and James H. Cook (1920-1997).


1957-7th and 8th Grades


[1st row-L-R: Jimmy Cook;?; Jerry Bushart Ellis; ?; Carl Brochard; ?;?; and Sister Mary Frances.[2nd row-L-R: ?;?; Mary Kay Wilkerson;Larry Gilbert; ?;Eric?; and Carol Ann Higginbotham.[3r row-L-R: Mickey J. Bellande; ?; Linda Trahan; Bertha Ryan; Virginia Crawford; and Debbie Alley; 4th row-L-R: John Cox; Karen Pinegar; Bonnie Kay Creel; Joan Hunt; Brenda Creel; and Eileen Conway; [5th row-L-R: Brenda Foret; Linda Higgenbotham; Tony Corso; Xavier Joseph Maumus; ?; and Dennis Malpass.



The Daily Herald, “Biloxi has new school”, August 28, 1926.

The Daily Herald, “St. John’s Bazaar”, October 6, 1927.

The Daily Herald, “Father McGlade, new St. John’s pastor”, September 4, 1931.




St. Theresa’s Catholic School was situated on the north side of the Back Bay of Biloxi.  Designed by Carl E. Matthes (1896-1972).  Plans completed in the summer of 1926.  Father Carey awarded building contract to              .



The Daily Herald, “New Parochial School Dedicated”, September 7, 1916.

The Daily Herald, “Biloxi has new school”, August 28, 1926.



NOTRE DAME: 1943-19



Father Jeffrey T. O'Connell


In September 1942, the Parochial School system of Biloxi was led by Father Geoffrey T. O’Connell.  The Sisters of Mercy were operating five White Catholic schools with the following enrollments:  Sacred Heart High School [Academy] and Mercy Convent elementary-425 students: St. John elementary-181 students; St. Michael elementary-250 students; and St. Theresa elementary-108 students.  There were also several hundred Black students at Our Mother of Sorrows with the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament in charge.(The Daily Herald, September 14, 1942, p. 10 and July 26, 1943, p. 1)



In 1943, a decision was made to separate the males students at the Sacred Heart Academy and commence an all-boys Catholic High School to be called Notre Dame.


A.F. Dantzler House

Brothers of Holy Cross Society of Notre Dame University.  Land in rear for recreation football field and track.  Five white Catholic schools operated by 31 Sisters of Mercy teaching about 1000 pupils: Convent of Mercy; Sacred Heart academy; St. Michaels; St. Johns; and St. Theresa in North Biloxi.  Black Catholic school operated by four Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament teaching 203 students.  Sisters of St. Joseph came to Biloxi in March 1860, but replaced by Sisters of mercy about 1875.  After the property transfer Mr. Dantzler and W.L. Guice made significant contributions to the new school.(The Daily Herald, July 26, 1943, p.1)

Brother Francis Borgia C.S.C.

First Principal of Notre Dame High School [from The Daily Herald, August 13, 1943, p. 7]

Notre Dame High School was commenced in September 1943 in a 19th Century residence, known as the Dantzler House, situated on West Beach Boulevard opposite the 1847 Biloxi Lighthouse.  The Dantzler House was acquired by Nativity B.V.M. for use as Biloxi’s first Catholic High School. The Reverend Geoffrey T. O'Connell was president of the school and five Holy Cross Brothers: Brother Francis Borgia-principal; Brother Jacob; Brother Jarlath; Brother Nivard; and Brother Norman, were hired to conduct the school and to live on the second floor of the Dantzler House.  Work started on athletic field behind the school.(The Daily Herald, August 21, 1943, p. 6 and September 2, 1943, p. 7)


1944 Graduation

Bishop R.O. Gerow presented diplomas to 14 scholars on the eve of May 26th: Russell A. Quave, valedictorian; Francis L. Logue, salutatorian; John J. 'Jack' Pisarich, class president; Marion M. Williams; Glen A. Pisarich; Leon P. Balius; Robert B. Baricev; William M. Collins; Joseph P. Fallo; Kermit Fountain; Person Moore; Raymond L. Quave; Sidney Schol; and Robert M. Tremmel.  Dr. Clarence Manion, Dean of the Nortre Dame University Law School, address the garduates.(The Daily Herald, May 28, 1944, p. 1 and p. 6)


1946 Graduation

Monsignor Geoffrey O'Connell, founder of Notre Dame High School and pastor of Nativity BVM, presented diplomas to twenty-six young men on May 30th at the school.  Alphonse H. Wambsgan, valedictorian, Walter L.Nixon, salutatorian, and Joseph J. Collins, class president, made speeches.  Members of the class were: Rothwell Francis Andeson; Wallace Eugene Cassonova; Joseph James Collins; Gerald Joseph Diaz; Chrles Everett Duffie; Ennis Anthony Grady; Woodman Elliott Graham; Joseph Swetman Hewes; Salvador James Lepre; Joseph Erval Mills; Walter Louis Nixon; Antoine John Otto, Jefferson Campbell Parrish; Gordon Joseph Peresich; Donald Louis Puzz; Alva James Seymour; Lindus Joseph Seymour; Torrence Francis Smith; James Philip Starks; John Paul Tiblier; Emory Lavon Turner; Alphonse Henry Wambsgan; and Eugene Paul Wiltz.(The Daily Herald, May 28, 1946, p.  5)



Charles H. Hegwood (1914-2001) succeeded Ted Hoffa as football coach in late May 1952.  Hoffa had been at the school for 1 1/2 years and compiled a record of 4 wins, 4 loses, and a tie. Hegwood was a Millsaps graduate and played all sports and coached by T.L. Gaddy, former Biloxi High coach.  Coach Hegwood came to the Coast from Taylorsville High School. Returning lettermen for his 1952 football squad were: George Vuyovich; Aloysius Schneller; Louis Feranda; Ronald Nungesser; and Ray Pisarich.(The Daily Herald, May 21, 1952, p. 10)





Brother Placidus Carroll (1901-1981), native of Baltimore and resident of Biloxi since 1947, died on January 25, 1981.  Brother Placidus Carroll retired from teaching in 1976 and had taught mathematics and religion at Notre Dame High School.  His corporal remains were sent to St. Joseph's Cemetery of the Brothers at st. Joseph's County, Indiana for burial.(The Daily Herald, January 26, 1981, p. A-2)



Louis E. Presti [originally spelled Prestigiacomo] (1917-2003) former Notre Dame football coach died at Clearwater Beach, Florida on July 10, 1993.(The Tampa Tribune, July 13, 2003)



The Daily Herald, “964 students in White Parochial schools of Biloxi”, September 4, 1942.

The Daily Herald,  “Dantzler Home purchased for Catholic High”, July 26, 1943, p. 1.

The Daily Herald, “A.F. Dantzler Home [photo], July 30, 1943, p. 2.

The Daily Herald, “Notre Dame High School for Boys”, August 21, 1943

The Daily Herald, “Registration at Notre Dame High being made daily”, September 2, 1943.

The Daily Herald, “14 graduates of Notre Dame presented diplomas”, May 27, 1944.

The Daily Herald, “Notre Dame forms athletic committee”, August 30, 1944.

The Daily Herald, “Notre Dame staff awaits new term”, August 30, 1944.



The Daily Herald, “Brother Hyacinth”, September 4, 1945.

The Daily Herald, “Notre Dame, Sacred Heart to receive diplomas together”, May 28, 1946.

The Daily Herald, “C.R. Hegwood appointed head coach at Notre Dame”, May 21, 1952.
The Daily Herald, “Brother Placidus Carroll dies”, January 26, 1981.
 Nativity BVM Elementary
In early September, James Starks, general contractor, began pouring the concrete foundation for the $200,000 NBVM Elementary School.(The Daily Herald, September 2, 1955, p. 8)