Dominic Lasseigne Staff
Legion Park Pool was a swimming pool in Houma constructed in 1938 by the Works Progress Administration, an organization formed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal program that enlisted out-of-work men to build public works projects like the pool. The American Red Cross ran the pool, located on Williams Avenue, for years, employing lifeguards, vendors, and swim coaches. According to records in the Terrebonne Parish Library, young children paid 10 cents while older children paid 25 cents.
Some of the lights from the tennis courts still remain pointed towards where the pool was. During the 1950s, the pool was gradually updated. The pool had two extra pools built, a diving pit, and a snack shop. Swimming classes were taught every summer. According to the State Library of Louisiana, the main pool was 60 feet by 150 feet in size with 10-foot cement walkways on all four sides. The pool was 3 feet to 9 feet deep. The State Library of Louisiana mentions that swimming classes were also given here to offshore oil workers. Men fell into the diving pit fully clothed with steel-toe boots to reenact falling off of a rig.
Prior to the 1960s, the pool was exclusively for white people. When the pool opened for everyone, racial tensions caused the usage of the pool to fall dramatically. The pool was reopened briefly in the 1980s. Bennett Porche, a Houma native who was in his late teens when the pool reopened, says summertime would attract close to a hundred kids every weekend. For a few years the pool survived, finally closing permanently that same decade. Since then, the pools were abandoned and the water became green.
In 2008, the abandoned pool was demolished. It had gone unused for approximately 20 years at the point of demolition. Remnants still remain, such as a path from the street and various concrete slabs scattered throughout the yard. Though grass has covered most of the pool’s remains, some patches of gravel can still be found.
According to Terrebonne Parish officials in 2008, there were talks of replacing the pool with something else: an outdoor concert venue, skatepark, and indoor swimming facility were all floated ideas. Nothing has been done with the land since.