New Bogalusa Hope House dedicated to late board member

Published 7:00 am Monday, September 11, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

On Friday, September 8, a ribbon cutting was held to commemorate the grand opening of a new Children’s Advocacy Center Hope House located in Bogalusa.

Hope House is an independent, non-profit organization that provides services for families following instances of child abuse. Each year, Hope House conducts hundreds of forensic interviews with child abuse victims and provides thousands of free counseling sessions to abused children and their non-offending caregivers.

Prior to the renovation of the new facility, Hope House was serving Washington Parish clients out of a 1940s-era building owned by a local church.

The new state-of-the-art facility allows Hope House to provide a more comfortable environment for trauma recovery, forensic evidence collection and victim advocacy. Hope House’s primary headquarters remains in Downtown Covington.

“This place will provide the most incredible justice, healing, recovery and help kids of Washington Parish be placed on a trajectory where they can be kids again,” said Thomas Mitchell, Director of Hope House.

The Bogalusa Hope House is dedicated to the late Neal Clark, who was a board member of the CAC and found the location of the new facility.

“He created this, but not only that, he helped our organization move forward and was just an incredible source of strength for our leadership on the board of directors,” said Mitchell.

Neal’s wife, Carmen Clark, as well as his daughter and son, Alex Clark-Benoit and Richard Clark, attended the ceremony to honor Neal’s memory and cut the ribbon.

According to his daughter, Neal was dedicated to helping children, and spent his entire career donating his time, money and experience towards philanthropic endeavors for children.

“This is our first time seeing it,” Alex Clark-Benoit said. “They were looking for a facility to expand the footprint of the CAC so I think it’s amazing that his legacy continues to live on through every single family that comes through here and every volunteer that also supports this amazing cause that he was so passionate about.”

Senator Beth Mizell was in attendance at the ceremony and spoke to those in attendance.

“I’m so proud of this and sad about it at the same time,” said Mizell. “I think it’s one of those bittersweet things. If we’re going to go after this, we have to go after it in a really serious way that acknowledges the value of what you’re trying to do.”

Bogalusa Hope House is located at 238 Austin Street. For more information on the Children’s Advocacy Center, visit

“This will be Neal’s place for our kids,” said Mitchell.