Students excited about Landry-Walker merger

New Orleans, La. - This school year will look very different for high schoolers on the West Bank.

O. Perry Walker and L. B. Landry high schools are merging. The plan has some community members pushing back -- but students we spoke with say they're thrilled.

The Charging Bucks, a mesh of O. Perry Walker Chargers and L.B. Landry Buccaneers, say they are twice as ready to win the state championship this year.

"We're coming strong, we're not coming soft. We want to let it be known that we're representing one school, not two," said senior Joseph Parker, a wide receiver from L.B. Landry.

The new union is rooted in Algiers and dedicated to creating a powerhouse.

"Before we merged we knew that we were going to do some amazing things, some positive things, and I never really saw it as a negative thing," said junior Li'gon Cordier, a quarterback from O. Perry Walker.

The students will share a newly-renovated Landry campus, beginning this school year. The official name of the school is the Lord Beaconsfield Landry-Oliver Perry Walker College and Career Preparatory High School.

According to Recovery School District officials, Walker needed $35 million in renovations. For example, the school auditorium has been closed since Hurricane Katrina. Now, they'll be in a new educational complex with plenty of space for a harmonious blend of students.

The new band will be 130 students strong during the school year, and it incorporates both band directors.

"As far as a B school, F school, we're not concerned of that," said Brandon Armant of the Algiers Charter School Association. "Right now, we are one school. We're Landry-Walker and we're going to make sure that the students here receive the best quality education that they rightfully deserve."

However, some Landry alumni are worried this isn't the best option for students. They say it feels more like an O. Perry Walker takeover than a merger.

"O. Perry Walker, because of its scores, should have its own institution, its own facility," said Kenneth Grooms, a 1967 Landry graduate.

It's an argument the Landry Alumni Association has made since the merger idea was first proposed a few years ago.

Just a few weeks until the school bell rings, though, the students seem prepared.

Whether it's in a classroom of their new school or on the football field, Landry-Walker students are prepared to brush shoulders, lend a hand, and embrace their new identities. As the football team says, "No surrender, no retreat, that's the Landry-Walker way."