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Loyola at a Glance

New Orleans civic leader who helped transform Loyola honored by Archdiocese

November 22, 2013

John P. Laborde H ‘96, trustee emeritus of Loyola University New Orleans, has spent a lifetime doing for others. For his commitment to serving numerous Catholic causes and the community for decades, Laborde received the Pope John Paul II Award Nov. 19 from the Catholic Foundation of the Archdiocese of New Orleans.

The award is presented annually to a deserving layperson or permanent deacon who resides in the Archdiocese of New Orleans and who exhibits inspirational examples of Christian stewardship. Laborde’s faith is the guiding force and foundation for his service, and he combines a spirit of selfless leadership, integrity and deep family values, according to the Catholic Foundation.

The World War II veteran is the past chairman, president and CEO of Tidewater, Inc., retiring from the company in 1995 after developing it into the largest oil and gas marine offshore owner and operator of vessels in the world. In that role, he often used his business to help those in crisis. For example, he provided several vessels to help Archbishop Philip Hannan’s Hurricane Mitch relief efforts in Nicaragua in 1998.

His generosity is evident at Loyola in many ways. Laborde served on Loyola’s board of trustees from 1981-1993 and chaired the committee responsible for helping the university purchase St. Mary’s Dominican College campus—where his own mother graduated in 1909. He later donated $250,000 to Loyola for renovations to Greenville Hall, where a portrait of his mother now hangs as a visual reminder of the Laborde legacy.

He is also the man responsible for “Iggy”—the now iconic statue of St. Ignatius Loyola located in the heart of the campus. Laborde made the $20,000 gift in 2000 with the hope of giving Loyola’s campus a visible reminder of the role of the founder of the Society of Jesus. Today, students affectionately decorate “Iggy” in support of many student-led charity and social justice efforts. Laborde also donated $50,000 to Loyola’s J. Edgar and Louise S. Monroe Library, now recognized nationally by The Princeton Review.

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Loyola at a Glance is written and distributed for the faculty, staff, students and friends of Loyola University New Orleans. It is published by the Office of Public Affairs, Greenville Hall, Box 909, 7214 St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70118. (504) 861-5888.

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