Stories | VergesRome Architects | New Orleans Architectural Firm

VergesRome Architects | New Orleans Architectural Firm


In celebration of 60 years of architectural design excellence in the Greater New Orleans Community, VergesRome’s family of employees gathered in the beautiful oak-lined City Park for a champagne toast, followed by an anniversary lunch at Ralph’s on the Park. The beautiful celebration was highlighted by toasts from company founder Ernie Verges, then Chip Verges and Steve Rome. More than anything, the VRA team felt that it was most important to stop and celebrate the great people who have come together to serve our clients over the last six decades. Without our team, known as our family, we are nothing. Client projects drive our business, but our people are what make the difference every single day.

Juan Burciaga, Jr., AIA is a Project Architect who joined VRA earlier this year. His love for traveling and outdoor activities like hiking and hunting have led him to a deep foodie exploration of cooking. He enjoys testing out recipes for wild game, especially when he can get his kids to like it too!

“Trying new recipes is always fun and exciting for me. This is usually the same with trying new dishes. Trying new recipes probably comes from my father bringing home all kinds of random wild game for us to try.  Just to name a few: wild pig, rattlesnake, turtle eggs, and cow tongue (lengua). So as a kid I was exposed to a lot of different dishes. This is probably why I am always up for trying something new. But the ultimate reward is preparing a new recipe correctly and it is delicious. As for BBQ, this is always fun to learn and experiment with, and it also gives us an excuse to invite a few friends and family over to share what I have prepared. A few family favorites that I have in the rotation are Venison Fajitas, Venison Barbacoa, Pulled Pork, Ribs and Turkey (whole smoked).”

A few of Juan’s favorite cooking shows and recipe books that he draws inspiration from are: All Things Barbeque, The Meat Eater, and Steven Raichlen

One new recipe that Juan recently tried is Venison Osso Bucco (see photos).  He mentioned that the hardest part about this recipe was cutting the venison shank (bone). ”I had to utilize a few power tools to try to cut them. If you need to know which tool worked best, it was an Oscillating multi-tool with a combo blade. My wife was kind of skeptical about using power tools in the kitchen, but I did not leave much of a mess, so she ended up being ok with it.  The key to cutting them was to make sure they were still partially frozen.”  

Juan’s next big food project is trying to turn venison into sausage. While he has dabbled in this a little in the past, he is looking forward to the challenge of making sausage links. 

Link to Juan’s latest Osso Bucco Recipe:

For VRA’s Ambassador of First Impressions, Kelly LeBlanc, photography is indefinitely healing. She enjoys and appreciates photography and loves what it captures. “In Nature, nothing is perfect. Trees are bent, contorted, and they are still beautiful.” She’s been taking photos since her first child was born 28 years ago when she started photographing him out in nature.

Kelly tried to get outdoors and shoot every weekend. She recently took a pictures of her blooming Dahlias in her garden. To her, they are an expression of how when things are nurtured how beautiful they can become. Her favorite things to capture are skies, birds, and flowers. Sometimes, Kelly even photographs her travels. This summer, she’s visiting Virginia Beach and looking forward to ocean scenery and sunsets to photograph.

“In Nature, there is no judgment, comparison of the other, no right or no wrong, it just is,” shares Kelly.

During Carnival Season 2023 we welcomed local New Orleans Artist Heather Mattingly Art to create an incredible Mardi Gras-themed mural inside our building!

Her work perfectly represents the fun times had in the New Orleans community during this season. VergesRome looks forward to opporutnities to engage local artists in various projects for our firm. The color and vibrance of this pieces really brightened the building lobby! Learn more about Heather’s art here.

Saint Joseph Seminary College held its annual fundraising gala, Deo Gratis (Latin for “Thanks be to God”) on Saturday, October 27, 2018. The event took place on the beautiful grounds of Saint Joseph Abbey and several members the VRA team were there for the festivities.

Over the next decade, jobs in fields related to science, technology, engineering and math are expected to grow twice as fast in Louisiana than those in any other field, researchers

Source: Sci High leaders break ground on future home: $27.5M, state-of-the art STEM building

38th Annual YMCA Corporate Cup

VRA team members at the 38th Annual YMCA Corporate Cup on Saturday, November 10, 2018 in beautiful City Park.   Steve Rome and his dog MiaBella are shown on the right, crossing the finish line.

By Karen Baker, Clarion Herald contributing writer

Every building has a story, and the new Rouquette Library at St. Joseph Abbey and Seminary College has quite a story to tell.  The 19,000-square-foot, $6 million building was barely in the works when the Abbey grounds north of Covington were inundated by flood waters in March 2016. “I thought it was gone,” librarian Bonnie Bess Wood said of the project, which was put on hold for a year while the Abbey grappled with restoring its flooded campus. But on Sept. 15, the college’s longtime librarian stood on the third floor of a “dream come true,” waiting for Archbishop Gregory Aymond to bless the building. “It’s not just a pretty thing,” Wood said of the library, which features wide expanses of glass. It is, she said, a 21st-century library centered on the idea of collaborative learning. State of the art While the second floor houses the traditional book stacks, the third floor includes two conference rooms, gathering spaces and opportunities for students to work together.  The first floor is an open area that will eventually include a nod to the library’s namesake: Father Adrien Rouquette, whose poem. “The Nook,” will grace the walls. Since the library opened its doors at the beginning of the semester, Wood said, student use has been up dramatically in comparison to the old library. In the old library, there would be about 150 visitors a month, she said, while one month in the new space has brought in 700 visitors. “And I expect more, because we provide the students with the space they need. It is student-centered.” The library, built with funds from the “I Will Give You Shepherds” campaign for priestly formation, is definitely all about the seminarians. “This is a gift to you” from the many generous donors who supported the effort, architect Steve Rome told the students gathered for the blessing and dedication. “Please embrace it, foster it, and nurture it.” Rome, of VergesRome Architects, called the library project “an incredible journey” – a journey that took eight years from start to finish and included collaboration among many stakeholders. Voelkel McWilliams was the general contractor for the project. “We are happy to come to this point,” said Benedictine Father Gregory Boquet, president rector of the seminary college, which started the fall semester with 144 students. “It would not be possible without the strong support of Archbishop Aymond” and the generous donors to “I Will Give You Shepherds.”  “It is a beautiful structure,” the archbishop said. “This library is a sign of God calling us to wisdom and truth. God calls our seminarians and all of us to be wise, enlightened  and to seek the truth, for Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life.” The public is invited to get a look at Rouquette Library during an open house on Sunday Oct. 7 from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. The library is situated next to the Abbey Gift Shop. Karen Baker is a contributing writer and can be reached at

Source: St. Ben’s rises above flood with ‘21st-century’ library