Top 5 True St. Paul’s Urban Legends

(COVINGTON, La.) — St. Paul’s School campus has undergone numerous changes and renovations in its 104-year history. Sometimes, with all of the renovations, construction, and changes, it becomes difficult to imagine what life was like 50 years ago on the campus of St. Paul’s School.

Like any long-tenured establishment, rumors, myths, and legends have risen from the stories of those who once walked the school’s halls. Does President Bro. Ray Bulliard, FSC, actually use portals to transport from class to class so quickly? Are the rising prices of candy due to Sarge’s involvement in the Illuminati? Sadly, neither of these are true, but some other equally incredible school legends are.

A newspaper clipping from the St. Paul's Story heralds the Wolves beating the Tigers. (Photo credit: The St. Paul's Story)

A newspaper clipping from The St. Paul Story heralds the Wolves beating the Tigers (Source: The Saint Paul Story, Bro. Ephram Hebert, 1968).

5) SPS vs. LSU

Coach Phil Williams has surely done well during his time here at St. Paul’s as head basketball coach, but is his program up to taking down the LSU Fighting Tigers? According to archive sources, in 1923, St. Paul’s College defeated LSU in a basketball game which took place in what is now the Alumni Memorial Theatre. In 1955, the Gene Bennett Sports Complex’s main gym (then known as the St. Jude Center) was built, and the historic gym transitioned into a large classroom, later a theater. The Alumni Memorial Theatre is not only one of the most historic buildings on St. Paul’s campus, but also in the city of Covington.

4) Horse Stalls in Right Field

Up until the 1940s, the main means of transportation in Covington was by horse. In fact, St. Paul’s actually had its own horse stalls on campus, along with other livestock. The stalls were located where present day right field lies at Heap Field. So, next time you attend a baseball game at Heap Field, know that its rather likely that the right fielder is standing in what used to be a large pile of horse droppings.

The St. Paul's putt-putt course sits in the green area that is now in between the band room, which had not yet been built, and the sidewalk. LaSalle Hall is in the background. (Photo credit: Conifer 1967)

Students enjoy a game of mini-golf in the green area that is now next to the band room, which had not yet been built. LaSalle Hall in the background was used as a dormitory during this time. The white pole in the center of the course still stands today. (Photo credit: Conifer 1967)

3) Mini-golf Course at SPS

Back when St. Paul’s was a boarding school, the boarders needed to stay entertained during the weekends and after school. Ways to do so included sporting events, a lounging area, a recreation room, and miniature golf.

Yes, there used to be a miniature golf course located on our campus. It was located between Benilde and LaSalle Halls. The course was constructed in the 1960s and was taken down over 20 years ago, but there are still remnants of the course on campus. Have you ever noticed that between Benilde and LaSalle Hall stands an old, broken lamp post in the middle of the grassy area? That post was located in the center of the course, lighting up the grounds as students enjoyed themselves. Also, the wrought iron sign that is currently in front of the Briggs Assembly Center spelling out “St. Paul’s” used to be in front of the course.

2) Underground Tunnels

Most students have asked the question, “How does Bro. Ray travel from classroom to classroom so quickly?” Many theories have tried to explain this phenomenon, such as portals, high speed golf carts, and tunnels. Believe it or not, there actually are tunnels underneath the grounds of St. Paul’s School.

Unfortunately, these “tunnels” are not used for human transportation. They are simply underground drainage tunnels, barely large enough for a smaller student to crawl through. According to Robert Simpson, St. Paul’s religion teacher and SPS alumnus, students often crawled through these tunnels until their entrances were closed a decade ago.

So where do these tunnels lead to? Some believe they had exits at every building; some even claim that there was a “super tunnel” that led to SSA. Unfortunately, these tunnels were simple and short and no evidence supports otherwise. Even though the tunnel exits were closed years ago, the tunnels still sit below the grounds of campus.

Before a production begins, members of the Marian Players rehearse in the Alumni Memorial Theatre. (Photo courtesy of nola.com)

Before a 2011 production of “Mr. Roberts” begins, members of the Marian Players rehearse in the Alumni Memorial Theatre in area above the former shooting range. Pictured are Shawn-Wesley Skinner, Carter Simoneaux, and Thomas Duet.  (Photo courtesy of nola.com)

1) Underground Shooting Range

During the summer of 1987, drama director Denny Charbonnet’s first with St. Paul’s, she was working a summer camp in the Theatre. During the camp, Charbonnet looked down into a crack in a door on the ground and saw what appeared to be a pair of eyes staring back up at her. After gaining the access to the key to this unknown room, she saw that these eyes actually belonged to an old statue that once stood on campus. Charbonnet did not stop at the statue; she continued to explore this room under the theater stage and floor. She claims to have found, in the back of the room, a set of targets along with empty bullet cartridges. What else could empty cartridges and targets be a part of, besides a shooting range? A shooting range was actually rather common in American boarding schools in the 20th century, as many taught the art of riflery.

This room was locked away after renovations to the Alumni Memorial Theatre in the school year of 1998-1999. The targets and cartridges found were never removed from this room. Therefore, the remains of a shooting range are still beneath the grounds of campus.

.  .  .

For an entertaining look at another campus myth,
watch the Guerrilla Wolves spoof on the alleged haunting of Lasalle Hall
in the first episode of “Mystery Adventures”.

.  .  .

Article photo and copy editing credit: Nick Ashton

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9 Comments on “Top 5 True St. Paul’s Urban Legends”

  1. Bryan Krantz
    September 15, 2015 at 2:58 pm #

    How about a historical on Benilde Hall/

    Like

  2. Todd Knaak
    September 15, 2015 at 3:01 pm #

    L-5 is/was haunted

    Like

  3. Judy LaCour
    September 15, 2015 at 6:31 pm #

    I don’t believe the original gym/ theater building was ever open air. As former drama director, teacher, and alumni director, I had an opportunity to talk with alumni familiar with the building and to research its origin. The building not only was the gym: it also contained the first indoor swimming pool in this area.

    Like

    • The Paper Wolf
      September 15, 2015 at 7:56 pm #

      Thank you for the clarification. Grainy old photos in the archives are deceptive.

      Like

    • Judy LaCour
      September 15, 2015 at 10:12 pm #

      I believe the photos showed the windows that were used to allow air and light in. A couple of the alums who played basketball on the court bragged that opponents hated to play in the gym of Saint Paul’s College because the walls were so close to the court boundary lines.
      BTW: the building was constructed in 1906 and pre-dates the Christian Brother era. In fact, an architect who did research indicated that it was commissioned when the school was Dixon Academy, which seems to have been a prep school for Tulane.

      Like

      • Chris Parker
        September 16, 2015 at 6:22 pm #

        Do a story on Ms. Judy . One of my favorite teachers……

        Like

  4. John Pettit 85
    September 16, 2015 at 8:32 pm #

    Ms. Lacour was a great teacher class 1985

    Like

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  1. SPS Student Media Receives State, National Honors | The Paper Wolf - September 14, 2016

    […] Place – Top 5 True SPS Urban Legends – by Carson Caulfied & Nick […]

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