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Nicholls finalizes return of Rienzi Plantation

THIBODAUX – Nicholls State University has officially transferred the Rienzi Plantation House to the Levert Foundation, the charitable arm of its original donor, the J.B. Levert Land Company LLC. The Thibodaux landmark, approved by the Board of Supervisors of the University of Louisiana System in 2010 as a new site for the John Folse Culinary Institute, has proven too small to accommodate the rapidly growing program.

“Enrollment in the Nicholls culinary curriculum is expanding to the point that a far larger classroom facility is required than would be permitted at Rienzi,” Dr. Stephen T. Hulbert, university president, said. “To that end, a new on-campus culinary arts building, totaling 31,119 square feet, is in the works on an 8.1-acre site at Highway 1 and Bowie Road. I do look forward to talking more about this facility as it develops, but today I want the community to know that Nicholls will always be grateful to the J.B. Levert Land Company for having donated this beautiful home to the university.”

Hulbert said the transfer decision was also made in part based on the cost of restoring the plantation house for university needs, combined with the cost of transporting students off campus for classes, which exceeded Nicholls’ financial capabilities given the state budgetary situation of the past six years. Also, any such restoration would damage the historical nature of the plantation and violate the intent of the donor.

For additional information about the Levert Foundation, go to levert.net.

To learn more about the Nicholls culinary program, go to nicholls.edu/culinary.

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