July 2022


A fire erupted in the Live Oak Junior High School gymnasium on June 22, destroying the building.

Nine local and nearby fire districts responded to the call, stabilizing the blaze by lunchtime, and successfully protecting surrounding classroom buildings from damage. The gym’s interior was destroyed by fire, smoke and water damage, as well as the fire caused the roof to become insecure, causing firefighters to abandon their work on the inside of the building at one point and only fight the blaze from the exterior.

“This is a tragic loss for the Watson community, as this building certainly holds many memories for so many. We are grateful that no one was injured, and we want to thank the 70-plus men and women who quickly responded to quench the fire and save the other buildings on our campus from being damaged,” Livingston Schools Superintendent Joe Murphy said.

Murphy said school officials will continue to work with the fire district investigators and the State Fire Marshall’s Office to get a full report on the blaze, and then determine the appropriate action for clean-up and rebuilding efforts.

The Livingston Parish Fire District 4 ladder truck stands outside the burning Live Oak Junior High School gym.  The gym is reported to be destroyed by fire, smoke, and water damage; however, all adjacent buildings on the campus were saved from any damage.


Livingston Parish Fire District 5 Chief Joe Koczrowski points to the compromised roof structure, as barely seen through the smoke and debris inside the damaged Live Oak Junior High gym.




Employees of the Livingston Parish School System are now eligible to receive comprehensive mental health care for them and their dependents, thanks to the district’s investment in a new benefits package.

Superintendent Joe Murphy said the district has investment in services provided by TotalCare EAP, offering employees, their spouses and dependents, access to counseling services designed to address significant life problems. The benefits include counseling and guidance on issues such as career and education, parenting, cyber safety, human resources and supervisor management, challenges of military deployment or simply coping with “tough times.” Those “tough times” may include relationship issues, depression, grief, eating disorders, financial or legal struggles, retirement planning or quality of life issues.

“It’s important that we give our employees all the tools they need to effectively do their job, and sometimes that includes assistance with coping with difficult challenges,” Murphy said.

“We all know that issues we deal with in the home can impact our performance on the job, just as difficult days at work can negatively impact our home life.  The two lives are not inseparable, so we want to give our people the resources they need to manage issues on the campus and in their homes in a healthy, productive way.”

Many of the services provided by TotalCare EAP can be accessed online, through tele-med or tele-health appointments, or by having access to a wealth of collected wellness information, videos and blogs.  The service also provides employees with a list of local physicians or certified counselors who could assist with their health care needs.



Norman Picou, acting board member for Livingston Parish School Board District 8

The Livingston Parish School Board recently appointed long-time educator, basketball coach and school administrator Norman Picou to serve as the acting board member for District 8, following the early departure of board member Frank Parrino.

Parrino resigned his seat due to health complications. His term was scheduled to run through the end of the calendar year.  Elections for all parish school board seats will be held this fall with elected candidates taking office in January 2023. The primary election for the school board seats will be held Nov. 8, and the run-off election, if necessary, will be held Dec. 10.

“I retired from the system with nearly 35 years of experience in education, including 23 in Livingston Parish.  I felt that serving in this temporary capacity would be a way of giving back to the system and helping out District 8 until the voters could choose a new representative,” said Picou.  He did not qualify to run for the open seat.