History of the College
River Parishes Community College was born out of a Senate Concurrent Resolution approved by the 1997 Regular Louisiana Legislative Session. It was the brainchild of State Senator Louis J. Lambert, a native of Sorrento, who along with his colleagues in the legislature, recognized that Louisiana was one of the most populous states in the country without a community college system to serve its citizens. Even though two community colleges had existed in the state for decades, and another was established in 1992, they were not placed within a comprehensive system of their own. In the fall of 1998, Louisiana voters approved a constitutional amendment establishing the Louisiana Community and Technical College System and its Board of Supervisors. River Parishes joined these six other community colleges in the state under the new system: Baton Rouge Community College, Bossier Parish Community College, Delgado Community College, Nunez Community College, Louisiana Delta Community College and South Louisiana Community College.
RPCC rented its campus for several years in and old Acadian style house off Highway 22 in Sorrento and the old technical school of Ascension Parish on Airline Highway. In 2014, the College moved to its current location in Ascension Parish in the city of Gonzales. RPCC Gonzales completed its Technical Training Center in early 2017, and moved out of the Airline highway campus, consolidated all of its programs onto a single campus. Late 2017, RPCC began the process of expanding under a re-organization of the thirteen member colleges of the Louisiana Community and Technical College system. RPCC acquired a small campus near Plaquemine, Louisiana (now RPCC Westside) and a significant campus in Reserve, Louisiana (RPCC Reserve). The expanded service area includes Ascension, Assumption, Iberville, St. James, St. John, and St. Charles Parishes.
The parishes along the lower Mississippi River, called the River Parishes region, have a rich heritage and a historic past that makes them unique within the state. Nestled in various corridors are communities steeped in pre-Civil War history as palatial plantation homes built nearly 200 years ago still stand firmly on their original sites. The Florida Parishes also are proud of a rich history of their own.
The history of the Acadians in Louisiana begins down the river as the first Acadian settlers set ashore in St. James Parish. The cultural museum in Lutcher outlines the history of the logging industry in the area that has long since faded away. It also documents the growth and expansion of the area from small logging encampments and sugar cane farms, to thriving city-towns.
RPCC also lies in that unique corridor where the majority of the state’s manufacturing facilities – anything from petro-chemicals to raincoats – are located. Part of RPCC’s mission is to serve those industries, through specialized training programs for potential employees, which would attract and help retain those industries in the area.
River Parishes Community College’s staff is dedicated to its mission of helping navigate your way toward new horizons!