Audubon Sugar School Administration Building in New Orleans, Louisiana. Picture taken in 1896. Courtesy of Hill Memorial LSU archives.
Audubon Sugar Factory, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA. Picture taken about 1925. Courtesty of Hill Memorial LSU archives.
Audubon Sugar School classroms in New Orleans, Louisiana. Picture taken in 1905. Courtesy of Hill Memorial LSU archives.
The Audubon Sugar Institute had its beginnings at the Sugar Experiment Station in Audubon Park in New Orleans and was founded by the Louisiana Planters Association in 1885.
Dr. William Carter Stubbs was the first director of the station and a professor of agriculture. In 1890, a mill was started at the station. In 1891, the Audubon Sugar School was established, and the first sugar engineering course was offered. The course grew into a five-year program, and a research component was added. In 1916, the school's director, Dr. Charles Coates, a professor of chemistry, published an article entitled "A Twenty-FiveYear Experiment in Chemical Engineering Education: The Audubon Sugar School."
In 1925, the school was transferred to the Baton Rouge campus of Louisiana State University and a model sugar factory was built. Succeeding Dr. Coates, the respective directors through 1976 were Dr. Paul M. Horton, Dr. Arthur G. Keller and Dr. John J. Seip.
In 1977, the school, which had been an integral part of the Department of Chemical Engineering, became an independent department with Dr. J.A. Polack, professor of chemical engineering, as director. The name changed to Audubon Sugar Institute.
In 1986, the Institute was merged with the sugarcane breeding station and was transferred to the LSU Agricultural Center. Dr. F.A. Martin, professor of agronomy, was named head.
In August 1997, the Audubon Sugar Institute was separated from the sugar station where all research activities with the agricultural aspects of sugarcane cultivation are now conducted. Also at that time, Dr.Willem H. Kampen, associate professor (adjunct in Food Science Department), was appointed head.
In July 2000, Dr Peter Rein, formerly Technical Director of Tongaat-Hulett Sugar, took over as professor and head of the Institute. Audubon Sugar was relocated in 2004 to a facility in Saint Gabriel that was donated by Syngenta Crop Protection, Inc.
Dr. Benjamin L. Legendre, Professor and Sugarcane Specialist, assumed the head of the Audubon Sugar Institute in March 2007 and he remained in the position until his passing in July 2017. Dr. Legendre was an international authority on sugarcane breeding and selection, juice and cane quality, maturity, cold tolerance and use of plant growth regulators as chemical ripeners.
In June 2018, Dr. Gillian Eggleston became the head of the Audubon Sugar Institute. Dr. Eggleston was previously a Lead Scientist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Southern Regional Research Center in New Orleans. She brings extensive international experience as well as experience working with Louisiana raw sugar factories to solve key problems in processing.