Vintage blackboards, books and desks for sale at former orphanage

Memories will be for sale Saturday when Catholic Charities holds a Treasure Sale on the campus of Hope Haven in Marrero.

Hope Haven was founded in 1925 by Monsignor Peter Wynhoven as an orphanage; the campus includes the St. John Bosco chapel and the school building, last used in 2008 as a residential facility for children.

Catholic Charities has been using the old school building and gymnasium for storage, but now the agency is ready to clean house. Organizers say there will be close to 1,000 items for sale, including hundreds of assorted chairs, cupboards, teachers’ desks, vintage office desks, very old school blackboards, a variety of Oriental rugs, arts and crafts supplies, piles of old school books, dictionaries, maps and much more — including antique light fixtures and hymnal racks from the closed chapel.

The Treasure Sale will take place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Hope Haven campus, 1101 Barataria Blvd. in Marrero. Refreshments will be for sale as shoppers browse through items inside the gym and on the lawn, and cash, checks and credit cards will be accepted.

The sale will benefit Program of All-inclusive Care of the Elderly, a Catholic Charities program for senior citizens.

According to Fany Hernandez, project coordinator for PACE, a three-phase renovation is planned for the Hope Haven campus to create a senior day-care center. Phase one will include renovation of the chapel, creating something similar to the Shirley Landry Benson PACE center at the former St. Cecilia Catholic Church in Bywater.

Phase two will include renovation of the school building, and phase three will see the construction of a new building to connect the chapel and school building.

The distinctive Spanish-inspired architecture of Hope Haven has been a landmark in Marrero for many years, and Catholic Charities Communication Coordinator AnnaToujas says she hopes people will be curious enough to stop by Saturday to take a look around.

“It’s exciting to put this to use again,” Toujas said. “A lot of people may just want to see inside the school building.”

Hernandez, who has been coordinating the big sale, said she meets people every day who have memories of Hope Haven.

“So many people here have ties to the campus,” she said. “I met a man the other day whose dad built the pews” in St. John Bosco chapel.

The chapel is now empty, but the school building’s huge gymnasium is packed with lamps, desks, chairs, rugs and a treasure trove of things waiting for new homes.

“The campus hasn’t been used for so long, I think people are excited about what we’re doing,” said Hernandez, who has been doing a lot of organizing to prepare for the Treasure Sale.

Toujas said shoppers are encouraged to bring vehicles that can carry large items home.

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