Percy M. Griffin Center opened to much fanfairDec 27th, 2010 | By Terri Sercovich | Category: news
The new YMCA community recreation center in Davant was unveiled on Dec. 19, which was also the first annual Percy Murphy Griffin Day in Plaquemines Parish.
The center, named after Percy M. Griffin, was celebrated with community members and local leaders singing praise to the late-civil rights activist.
After serving in the Army during World War II, Griffin returned home to Plaquemines Parish with the intention of registering to vote. For years he was discouraged from registering by the parish courthouse employees.
Griffin met Rev. Samson ‘Skip’ Alexander in the 1950’s and together they worked to form the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, of which Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. served as president.
“[Plaquemines Parish government] wanted him to move out of the parish,” said Alexander about his friend and colleague. “They offered to buy him a house in New Orleans, but he wouldn’t give up, he wouldn’t do it.”
“It definitely was a memoriam and made my family feel that much more special,” said PV Griffin, Percy Murphy Griffin’s son and Councilman-elect for District 1. “It is six years after his death and people still remember him and the work he’s done.”
The Griffin family will sometimes reminisce about their father and his activism in the civil rights movement, PV Griffin said.
The approximately 300 guests at the ceremony were treated to free food and performance art pieces from Eastbank schoolchildren. They were also able to explore the features available in the new building, which boasted a fitness facility and locker rooms, a multi-purpose room, office space and a large, crystal blue, outdoor swimming pool.
District 1’s former recreation center was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, and rebuilding was delayed due to flood risks.
“In 2005 they predicted we wouldn’t come back,” said Councilman Don Beshel, District 1. “I’m very glad to see it back.”
Construction only began on the Percy M. Griffin Center about one-and-a-half years ago, Beshel said.
FEMA paid the total construction costs for the project, about $8 million, and Entergy donated $500,000 to be used for the center.