The 75 year-old Little Red School House on Royal (McDonogh 15)


When wealthy recluse John McDonogh died in 1850, the residents of New Orleans and  Baltimore were surprised to find themselves the beneficiaries of his considerable estate. His will specified that the money was to be used for the purpose of establishing public  schools in the two cities for “education of the poor of all castes and races.”  Over 30  public schools bearing John McDonogh’s name were constructed in New Orleans.

Baltimore on the other hand, opened one which was established originally as an all-white, semi-military school for orphan boys, who worked on the farm in exchange for their tuition, room, and board. The first African-American student was admitted in 1959. In 1971, the military traditions of the school were discontinued but to this day it is regarded as one of the Baltimore region’s most prestigious preparatory schools.

LRS was constructed in 1932 by city architect, E. Christy on the site of the early 19th century St. Philip Theatre.


Before it was a theater, the playhouse on St. Philip Street was a ballroom, and it would revert to its original ballroom status several times during its lifetime, alternatively known as the Salle Chinoise, the Winter Tivoli, and, in perhaps its most famous incarnation, the Washington Ballroom. Under the ownership of Bernardo Coquet, the St. Philip Street ballroom was the scene of the first balls for free people of color, and in 1805, when it was leased by Auguste Tessier, it became the first hall to host quadroon balls. Between 1808 and 1832, when it became the Washington Ballroom, the theater competed first with the St. Peter Street Theater and later with the Orleans Theater to be the premier site of French opera in New Orleans. [J.G. de Baroncelli. Le Theatre-Francais de la Nouvelle Orleans. New Orleans, 1906] ( 




St. Philip School – Boys – No. 721 St. Philip  ( 


Building used in 1958 for King Creole school scenes 

In 1970, Lucianne Carmichael requested to be sent to the lowest performing, most segregated school. While earning a Masters degree from Tulane University she developed and implemented a Language Arts project that operated centers in 26 public and parochial schools. From 1964 until 1969 Lucianne was responsible for assisting in the preparation of the E.S.E.A Title I proposal and developing new programs for inner city schools. In 1969 she was appointed acting principal of Howard No. 1 school. The next year she was assigned to McDonogh 15, an empty elementary school in the French Quarter. With the help of dedicated staff, she breathed life into a dead building and an innovative school was born.IMG_1140

2006- 2016:

KIPP McDonogh 15 School for the Creative Arts

KIPP McDonogh 15 School for the Creative Arts was a public charter school operated by KIPP New Orleans as part of the Louisiana Department of Education?s Recovery School District (RSD). In 2006,  KIPP McDonogh 15 started serving 470 pre-kindergarten through eighth grade students. In 2011, KIPP McDonogh 15 Middle School moved to the Frederick Douglass building on St. Claude avenue and began functioning independently of the primary school. After a year at the Douglass building, the school moved to its current location in Gentilly, and renamed KIPP Morial in 2017.

Homer Plessy, A Community  School

Homer Plessy School’s charter was granted in 2012, with a focus that placed that a high value on critical thinking, creativity, diversity and citizenship, and served its first student population in 2013. The school moved to the FQ campus in 2017.

About DW

New Orleans resident, writer, activist. Public market consultant.

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