(Special from St. Louis Catholic High School)
LAKE CHARLES -- Mrs. Janice Conoly Picard and Mrs. J.A. Landry were named the newest members of the St. Louis Catholic High School Hall of Fame on Sunday, October 11, 2015. The ceremony was held after Mass in the school’s Commons.
St. Charles Academy, J. A. Landry Memorial High School and Sacred Heart High School lconsolidated 45 years ago at the Landry site at 1620 Bank Street to create St. Louis High School. It was a financial necessity that sparked the movement to consolidate the two schools in the 1960’s. St. Charles was a girls' school and Landry Memorial a boys' school. One of the key persons in making the St. Louis story possible was the generosity of the late philanthropist Mrs. J.A. Landry.
Mrs. Landry, who was 74 when she died, November 1, 1934, was one of the most progressive citizens in the history of Lake Charles. She gave generously to charities and her church, including the building and gymnasium that became Landry Memorial High School. Landry Memorial was operated by the Christian Brothers. Mrs. Landry who was widowed in 1923, had seriously considered devoting part of her inheritance to a charitable enterprise in memory of her husband. By chance, she heard a sermon delivered by Bishop Jules Jeanmard in Immaculate Conception Church on the great need for Catholic education. She was touched by these words and as the city had already established St. Charles Academy as a girls’ school, she resolved to establish a Catholic school for boys, which was named Landry Memorial High School. She was married to Joseph Alfred Landry on March 17, 1885. He was responsible for the Lake Charles Waterworks and Gulf States Utilities.
Janice Lynn Conoly was born June 26, 1944 in Dallas, Texas. The three towns of Garland, Richardson, and Dallas were the center of her life. She went to church in Garland, school in Richardson, and learned to dance in Dallas. Janice enjoyed school. She especially enjoyed drill team when it was introduced into the curriculum and was chosen captain. This was to have a great influence on her life. After high school graduation, Janice attended Kilgore Junior College and met the infamous Gussie Nell Davis, the founder of the Kilgore Rangerettes. She worked six years with Gussie Nell at Southern Methodist Dance/Drill Team School. There she met Barbara Tidwell who was Director of the Strutters of Southwest Texas State University. Janice became the lieutenant of the largest college dance team. During summer vacation, Janice taught dance/drill team camps at Loyola University in New Orleans, in Arkansas at Arkansas Tech, and at private camps throughout the United States. Janice has been a member of five Super Bowl pre-game choreographers and still works with dance teams in Louisiana.
Janice's first teaching experience was with forty first graders in New Braunfels, Texas. Her early teaching experience took her to Killeen and North Shore Senior High in Galena Park, Texas. She was one of the first full-time dance/drill team directors. Janice met Joe Picard, Jr. around this time. He was playing semi-pro football, and Janice was directing dance teams. Joe and Janice married and moved with his team to Beaumont, Texas where their daughter Jodi was born in 1969.
Janice and Joe moved to Sulphur, Louisiana, Joe's home. Their four sons were born there - Joseph Dudley Picard III, John, Jay, and Jeff. During this time Janice taught at Le Blanc Middle School. Janice and Joe were blessed with a marriage of 39 years. Only his death separated them. After the birth of Jeff, Janice returned to teaching at Our Lady's School in Sulphur. The band director at Our Lady's School was also the band director at St. Louis High School in Lake Charles. He worked with dance teams and persuaded Janice to move to St. Louis Catholic High where she held tryouts and formed the Sweethearts. Janice still works in the dance/drill team world at Central Catholic in Morgan City, Louisiana. Janice's family now consists of her five children (four attended St. Louis), 14 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
The St. Louis Catholic High School Hall of Fame was established to recognize any person, living or deceased, who has demonstrated outstanding ability, leadership, character, heroism, dedication, and patriotism and whose life and accomplishments can be an inspiration to the students of St. Louis Catholic High School.