A PRIVATE SWIM CLUB WAS ACCUSED OF SEGREGATION. THEN IT DISAPPEARED FROM THE INTERNET. Fifty miles west of New Orleans, along the twisting banks of theMississippi River, lies the unincorporated community of Vacherie, Louisiana. It’s split into two designations: North Vacherie and South Vacherie. But that is not the only way in which Vacherie is divided. According to some residents, racial segregation has continued unchallenged in the community, and specifically in one of its private swimming clubs.
Since 1974, La Vacherie Swimming Club has operated on a share-holding membership basis, meaning that, to be a member, you must buy a share in the pool. Should amember want to sell a share, an applicant, selected from the club’s waitlist, can buy it and gain membership.
But, it is an open secret among the just over 3,000 South Vacherie residents that there is only one way off the waitlist: You must be white. According to former members of the pool, they had never heard of a single Black person who had beenoffered membership.
“It’s just always been known that Black people can’t go there. If they try, they tell them there’s a waiting list. They’ll say it takes years to buy a share there,” longtime Vacherie resident, Jill Griffin told Refinery29. “You get off the waiting list when someone’s share becomes available and then the board has to approve you. Black people are never getting approved. They skirt around it.”