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Original Mount Carmel School 1885
Original Mount Carmel School 1885

The story of Mount Carmel in Abbeville, LA begins in the year 1884. Father Mehault began preparations for the building using the lumber from a demolished old Catholic Church to build a convent for the Sisters of Mount Carmel on the Place des Beaux Arts. The convent was finished in 1885. Four Sisters of Mount Carmel were sent to open a new school. Forty students awaited the new teachers. The school was opened for girls only, but in 1889, the first boy was admitted to Mount Carmel School.

During those days, the school population fluctuated because of good or bad crops, with the financial condition of the community, and with civic affairs. The tuition was $1.00 per month. By 1914, the enrollment had increased to a total of 45 boys and 90 girls.          

As time passed the school grew and the need for a newer building with more classrooms became obvious. In 1940, through the efforts of the Sisters of Mount Carmel, the pastor of St. Mary Magdalen Church and numerous benefactors from Abbeville, a new building and gymnasium were erected right next to the old building. From 1943 through 1946 Mother Immaculata O.Carm. was the Superior of Mount Carmel. During these years all of the buildings were paid for. In 1947 Mother Mary Grace came to Mount Carmel as the new principal and saw that the school was rapidly growing. In that same year Cabrini Hall was built, permitting the enrollment to increase by two hundred students.          

In October of 1949, with the dream of a bigger and greater Mount Carmel School in mind, Mother Mary Grace signed the papers for the purchase of the land on which the present Mount Carmel School is located. In July of 1952, Monsignor Paul Fusilier witnessed the signing of the contract by Mother Mary Grace for the building of the new Mount Carmel. By May of 1953 it was evident that the new school being constructed would not accommodate all the students applying for entry, so the old Cabrini Hall was moved from the site of the old school to the site of the new school. In July of 1953 Bishop Jeanmard blessed the cornerstone of the new school. In October of that same year the dream came true as the new Mount Carmel opened its doors, at the present site, 405 Park Avenue, housing grades Kindergarten through twelfth.          

In 1965 a new wing was built that now houses the music room and the faculty lounge. The new addition was dedicated to the memory of a young Mount Carmel student who was tragically taken from us in an automobile accident.          

In 1967 a great change occurred. the Parish of St. Mary Magdalen built a new High School and named it Vermilion Catholic. Mount Carmel then became an elementary school with grades Pre-Kindergarten through Eighth.          

Because of a need to accommodate an increase in enrollment, St. Mary Magdalen donated Mouton Hall to Mount Carmel. Under the direction of Monsignor Richard Mouton, the building was moved to Mount Carmel in 1984 and presently houses three Preschool classes.          

Today Mount Carmel has an enrollment of over 400 students in grades Pre-Kindergarten through 8. All grades have two sections of each. All classes have an average of 25 students per class. Grades Pre-Kindergarten through 3 are self-contained, grade 4 is semi-departmentalized and grades 5 through 8 are totally departmentalized. Through the unlimited support of the Sisters of Mount Carmel, the many pastors of St. Mary Magdalen Church, and the many benefactors and friends in the community of Abbeville, the vision and noble tradition of Carmel continues today.