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I can't get a consensus on whether the "s" in LaSalle should be capitalized or lower case? What is the right answer? 

Blake Pontchartrain: The New Orleans N.O. It All

click to enlarge De La Salle High School was named in honor of St. John Baptist de La Salle, founder of the Brothers of the Christian Schools.

Photo by Kandace Power Graves

De La Salle High School was named in honor of St. John Baptist de La Salle, founder of the Brothers of the Christian Schools.

Hey Blake,

I can't get a consensus on whether the "s" in LaSalle should be capitalized or lower case? What is the right answer?

Matt

Dear Matt,

  This name can be spotted in several places in the New Orleans area, including LaSalle Street, De La Salle High School, LaSalle Park, LaSalle Apartments and the now-gone Hotel LaSalle. These places may pay tribute to Rene-Robert Cavalier, Sieur de La Salle, the French explorer who led expeditions on the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers while establishing fur-trading routes. Sieur is a title of respect used in France. La Salle was the name of a family estate near Rouen, France. In 1682, the Frenchman named the Mississippi River Basin La Louisiane to honor King Louis XIV.

  La Salle also may refer to Saint John Baptist de La Salle, who was born in Reims, France in 1651 and died in Rouen in 1719. As a priest who dedicated his life to providing education to poor children, he became the founder of the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools and was canonized in 1900 by Pope Leo VIII.

  Although both spellings are prevalent, the "s" should be capitalized when referring to either of these historical figures. If La Salle is used as an adjective, however, as in Lasallian heritage, which describes the Catholic educational tenets of Saint John Baptist de La Salle, the "s" does not need to be capitalized.

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