A new day care and preschool specializing in American Sign Language and English immersion is expected to open near Goodwood Boulevard and Airline Avenue.
Blue Bridge ASL Academy is the brainchild of Katrina Rivers-Labouliere, owner and president of Communications Consulting Group, a Baton Rouge-based interpreting firm. As the daughter of two deaf parents, Rivers-Labouliere’s first language was ASL despite the fact she is able to hear. She says she grew up seeing discrimination regularly and became impassioned to do something about it. The school is her latest venture.
The school aims to be inclusive, she says, and will admit students who are deaf, hard of hearing, or nonverbal, as well as those who can hear but may have parents, grandparents or siblings who are deaf or nonverbal. Each classroom will be outfitted with one hearing and one deaf teacher.
“Children are celebrated exactly as they are when they’ll come into our doors,” Rivers-Labouliere says.
The school will be near Independence Park, on O’Hara Court, in the former location of Woman’s Child Development Center. Rivers-Labouliere closed on the building last week for $645,000. She was represented in the sale by David Palmer of Coldwell Banker Commercial ONE. The seller, Foundation for Woman’s, was represented by Carmen Austin of Saurage Rotenberg.
The school will be licensed for 114 children and provide care for children six weeks old through five years old. In the future, Rivers-Labouliere hopes to host summer and holiday camps for older children on the campus. Her goal is to open the day care by the end of June.