Around Jefferson: Race will celebrate improvements to Huey P. Long Bridge

A first-time road race on Father’s Day will celebrate the recent widening of a well-traveled bridge.

Register by June 11 for the Great Huey P. Long Bridge Run, an inaugural 5K race, to be held June 16.

The race will begin at 8 a.m. in Bridge City on the West Bank and ends on the East Bank near the intersection of Clearview Parkway and Jefferson Highway.

Race organizers say shuttle service will be provided from the East Bank to the West Bank beginning at 6:30 a.m.

The bridge will be blocked to traffic during the race to ensure the safety of participants.

A water station and port-o-potty will be positioned within the course for convenience. Spectators will not be allowed on the bridge during the race.

Race organizers will give awards to the top three finishes in several age categories.

Race registration fee is $30.

After the run, a dedication ceremony hosted by the several local organizations and government agencies will be held at 9:30 a.m. at 800 Clearview Parkway in Old Jefferson. There will also be music and refreshments.

When it was being built in the years following the Great Depression, the Huey P. Long Bridge opened in December 1935 and was named for Louisiana Gov. Huey P. Long, who had just been assassinated on Sept. 8 of that year.

The bridge was the first Mississippi River span built in Louisiana and was designed by engineer Ralph Modjeski.

The first train to cross the Public Belt Railroad’s new bridge on Dec, 16, 1935, was one of the Southern Pacific’s largest freight engines.

Once the first train had crossed the span, an excursion train carrying nearly 1,000 people left Union Station for a trip to Avondale and back. Regular train service on the bridge began on Dec. 17, 1935, and continues today.

For more information about the race and the dedication ceremony, go to the website at http://hueyprun.com.

Local school receives special grant

Metairie Park Country Day School has been awarded a $250,000 grant from the RosaMary Foundation, matching in full the Edward E. Ford Foundation Educational Leadership Grant.

The Ford grant was given for the creation of the New Orleans Scholars Program, a curriculum designed to help high school juniors and seniors become future leaders in New Orleans.

With the matching funds in place, a stipulation of the Ford Leadership Grant, Country Day is now developing the curriculum, which includes four areas of study — economic development, environment, politics and culture. Country Day is currently working to finalize educational partnerships with the Idea Village, the University of New Orleans Disaster Resiliency Program, Loyola University’s Institute of Politics, and the Historic New Orleans Collection. Country Day has invited Benjamin Franklin High School students to participate in the program and a limited number of students from both Country Day and Franklin will be selected each year.

Two special library programs

The Jefferson Parish Library is sponsoring two free programs that may be of interest to area residents.

First, John Mosier, Ph.D., a military historian and professor of English for many years at Loyola University, will discuss the Nazi Blitzkrieg and its impact on World War II at the monthly meeting of the World War II Discussion Group this evening at 7 p.m. at the East Bank Regional Library, 4747 W. Napoleon Ave., Metairie.

Mosier is the author of “The Blitzkrieg Myth: How Hitler and the Allies Misread the Strategic Realities of World War II,” which was published in 2004.

And Rosemary Donnelly, author of “Cooking with a Cougar,” will discuss her new cookbook on at 6 p.m. June 13 at the Lakeshore Library, 1000 West Esplanade Ave., Metairie.

For more information about both programs, call Chris Smith, manager of adult programming for the library, at (504) 889-8143 or email wcsmith@jplibrary.net.

Eva Jacob Barkoff writes about the people and events in Jefferson Parish. To contact her, email at ejbarkoff@gmail.com.