Helping America's Most Vulnerable

Academy Place for Seniors Opens in Houma

Volunteers of America Greater New Orleans hosted a grand opening on November 15, 2017, for its newest affordable senior living community, Academy Place. Located at 311 Academy Street in Houma, the former historic Houma Elementary School property has been beautifully restored to create independent apartments for senior citizens.

“Developments like Academy Place provide communities like Houma with much needed affordable senior housing with access to basic commercial services and public transportation. Volunteers of America Greater New Orleans’ commitment to senior citizens is reflected in the celebration of the generations that have passed through these halls over the years,” says Volunteers of America Greater New Orleans President and CEO James LeBlanc.

Academy Place offers seniors a gorgeous mix of historic and modern architecture in the form of 103 one- and two-bedroom apartments in three buildings designed to reflect the Art Deco era. Forty-seven apartments are located in the renovated building with an additional 56 in a new, three-story complimentary building on the same landscaped site. Amenities include deluxe kitchens, three community centers, plenty of green space, and even a butterfly garden with new construction complementing beautiful, historic buildings with original windows and charming woodwork, 11-foot ceilings, and original hardwood flooring.

The well-known Houma Elementary School building, originally built in 1931, was restored by Holly and Smith Architects and Ryan Gootee General Contractors, LLC. Several former students and even one former teacher are now current residents of Academy Place, conveniently located in the heart of Houma.

Among those participating in today’s groundbreaking were Volunteers of America Greater New Orleans President and CEO James LeBlanc, Volunteers of America GNO Board Member David Konur, Renaissance Neighborhood Development Corporation (RNDC) Board Chair Leonard D. Simmons, Jr., Volunteers of America President and CEO Mike King, President of Terrebonne Parish Consolidated Government Gordon Dove, Terrebonne Parish Councilmember for District 1 John Navy, Terrebonne Council on Aging Board Chair Ivy Dupre, Sr., Louisiana Housing Corporation Executive Director Keith Cunningham, Enterprise Community Partners Vice President/Market Leader Michelle Whetten, Volunteers of America GNO Board Chair Geoffrey Artigues and RNDC Executive Director Victor Smeltz.

The $19.7 million project was funded through a $5.5 million subordinate loan provided by the Terrebonne Council on Aging and further leveraged by $7.4 million in low-income housing tax credit equity, $2 million in state historic tax credit, $1.9 million in federal historic tax credit, $2.7 million in primary debt along with $200,000 in deferred developer fee and disability funding.