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MSS 147 - Orleans Parish School Board Collection: :


(Mss 147)


Earl K. Long Library

University of New Orleans

July 2006





ca. 1,370 linear feet

Geographic Locations:

New Orleans, LA

Inclusive Dates:



This collection houses the records of the Orleans Parish School Board, spanning from 1841 to 1998. It includes Board and Committee meeting minutes, Board correspondence, documents, directories, publications, records, architectural drawings, photographs, multi-media, and other collected materials pertaining to the schools and the operation of the school system by the Board.

Please note that the collection generally does not contain any official records pertaining to individual students, including any personal academic records or transcripts, lists of graduates, or internal records of individual schools. With very few exceptions, records of personnel or employment (e.g. teachers, administrators) are limited to only indirect sources, such as hiring and termination dates in minutes, names in school system directories, etc.


Deposit, 1983


No restrictions on use in the Louisiana and Special Collections Reading Room


Physical rights are retained by the Earl K. Long Library, University of New Orleans.


Orleans Parish School Board Collection (MSS 147), Louisiana and Special Collections Department, Earl K. Long Library, University of New Orleans

Historical Note

On February 16, 1841, the Louisiana Legislature passed a law that allowed each of the three existing municipalities of New Orleans and the then-suburb of Lafayette (in the vicinity of today’s Uptown and Garden District neighborhoods) to set up a citywide system of public schools, managed by a board of directors in each district. Through the efforts of early educational advocates and politicians such as Horace Mann, Joshua Baldwin (the recorder for the Second Municipality), and Samuel J. Peters, New Orleans began its efforts to organize an urban public school system similar to the ones founded recently in Northern and New England cities.

John Angier Shaw, a well-known figure in New England’s education community, was appointed the first Superintendent of the Second Municipality. On January 3, 1842, the Second Municipality’s first schools opened, in rented quarters in two adjoining buildings on Julia Street. The First and Third Municipalities followed suit in establishing their own boards and schools during late 1841 or shortly thereafter. Response in the community was enthusiastic, and the system soon expanded to include education of both sexes and the founding of the first high school in 1843, along with offices for the School Board, situated in Gallier Hall, and an early attempt at a school-system library.

In 1850, the burgeoning new school system received a large boost in the form of an impressive bequest from the will of eccentric millionaire John McDonogh, who split his huge estate between the school systems of New Orleans and Baltimore. The resulting windfall to the city’s school system -- later to be known as the McDonogh Trust or McDonogh Fund – came to the aid of the city’s schools just on the eve of the Civil War. McDonogh’s will specified that the fund was to be used explicitly for buildings and property, in the cause of benefitting public education. As many as 42 schools and school buildings have borne the McDonogh name over the years.

The Civil War and Union occupation presented difficulties and disruptions to the school system, and the Board minutes and records of this period and the subsequent Reconstruction era reflect the changes during these tumultuous times. In his will, McDonogh had specifically requested that poor people of all races and both sexes were to be the beneficiaries of his bequest to the city’s educational system; but that provision was largely ignored by school leadership until well into the Reconstruction period.

During Reconstruction, the system eventually undertook experiments in classroom integration (perhaps the only place in the South where this actually occurred) which were considered quite successful by most teachers and students. Fierce political opposition and even violence greeted these initiatives, ultimately returning at the end of Reconstruction to a segregated system that lasted until considerably after the Brown vs. Board of Education decision in 1954.

As the Reconstruction era came to a close, the system continued on over the next 75 years, growing and surviving through economic depressions, wars, social change, and other urban issues. New Orleans schools became a nationwide image of the testing ground for integration, when Ruby Bridges was escorted by Federal marshals and became the first African American in New Orleans to attend William Frantz, a formerly white elementary school.

By the time that the most recent materials in this collection were created (1998), the school system enrolled roughly 81,900 students, operated with an annual budget of $480.6 million dollars, and maintained over 128 active school buildings. Administratively it found itself bedeviled by myriad problems such as debt, political controversy, and poor academic performance, facing the same sort of issues that have afflicted many large urban systems around the country.

For further information, see Donald E. Devore and Joseph Logsdon, Crescent City Schools: Public Education in New Orleans 1841-1991 [Lafayette, Center for Louisiana Studies, University of Southwestern Louisiana, 1991])

List of Series and Subseries

Series I:

Book 1: Subseries A-C

Series II:

Book 2: Subseries D-La
(including Desegregation Files)

Series III:

Book 3: Subseries Le-M
(including Meeting Minutes)

Series IV:

Book 4: Subseries N-P
(including Office of Planning Blueprints)

Series V:

Book 5: Subseries Q-Z, Related Materials and Listings of OPSB Materials Available at Other Repositories

Series VI:

Book 6: Subseries Photographs

Series I:  Book 1: Subseries A-C

  • Ray Abrams elementary School
  • Marion Abramson Senior High School
  • Adolescent Service Centers
  • Henry W. Allen School
  • Alvar Street Center
  • Annual Reports of the Council of Municipality Number Two, of the City of New Orleans; Superintendent’s Office of OPSB and The Board of Directories of OPSB
  • Applause
  • Area I Schools
  • Area II Schools (See also “Juliana Boudreaux”)
  • Area III Schools
  • Attendance Reports
  • Audubon/ Lafon Elementary School
  • Audubon Montesorri Elementary School
  • Bachemin, Mervin
  • Agnes L. Baudiut School
  • P.G.T Beauregard School
  • Behrman Gym
  • Martin Behrman Middle School
  • Andrew J. Bell Junior High School
  • Belleville School
  • Judah P. Benjamin Elementary School
  • Bienville School
  • Etienne de Bore Elementary School
  • Juliana Boudreaux
  • Boys’ High School
  • Stuart R. Bradley Elementary School
  • P.A. Capdau Junior High School
  • George Washington Carver Junior and Senior High Schools
  • Center for Educational Improvement
  • Census and Child Accounting
  • Florence J. Chester School
  • William C.C. Claiborne School
  • Joseph S. Clark Senior High School
  • Mary D. Coghill Elementary School
  • Walter L. Cohen Senior High School
  • C.J. Colton Junior High School
  • Shirley Trusty Corey
  • Marie C. Couvent School
  • Joseph Adolphus Craig School
  • Lawrence D. Crocker School
  • A.D. Crossman School
  • Cultural Resources Quarterly
  • Curricula

Series II:

Book 2: Subseries D-La
(including Desegregation Files)

  • Rudolph T. Danneel #1 School (Pre‐Vocational)
  • Rudolph T. Danneel #2 School (Elementary)
  • Jefferson Davis Elementary School
  • James Derham Middle School
  • Dialogue
  • John Dibert School
  • Conchetta DiFranco
  • Directories of New Orleans Public Schools
  • Districtwide Evaluation Department
  • Dolese, Constance
  • Paul L. Dunbar School
  • Henderson H. Dunn School
  • Warren Easton Senior High School
  • Thomas Alva Edison Elementary School
  • Educational Accountability (Department of)
  • Helen S. Edwards School
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower School
  • Esplanade High School
  • Millard Fillmore Elementary School
  • (Office of) Finance and Planning
  • Financial Records of OPSB
  • Olaf J. Fink Center for Pre‐Vocational Education
  • Williams J. Fischer School
  • Abijah Fisk Elementary School/Fisk‐ Howard Elementary School
  • Alcee Fortier Senior High School
  • Benjamin Franklin Senior High School
  • William Frantz School
  • Rivers Frederick Junior High School
  • Gateway I High School/Gateway II High School
  • Francis J, Gaudet Elementary School
  • Charles E. Gayarre School
  • Gene A. Geisert – Superintendent, New Orleans Public Schools
  • Gentilly Terrace School
  • Girls’ High School
  • Jean Gordon Elementary School
  • Governmental Liaison (See also Joe Carmichael)
  • Grants – Prelimanry Inventory
  • Frederick Grasp Schools (Elementary and Senior High)
  • Samuel J. Green Junior High School
  • Francis W. Gregory Junior High School
  • William J. Guste School
  • Paul B. Habans School
  • Joseph A. Hardin Elementary School
  • Edgar P. Harney School
  • Alice M. Harte Elementary School
  • Margaret Haughery Senior High School
  • Murray Henderson School
  • Victor Hess
  • John W. Hoffman Elementary School
  • Frank T. Howard #1 School
  • Frank T. Howard #2 School (See also Modenbach family)
  • Edward Hynes School
  • Instructional Research Center
  • Internal Audit Dpartment
  • Andrew Jackson School
  • Thomas Jefferson School
  • Valena C. Jones Elementary School
  • Job Placement Center
  • James Weldon Johnson Elementary School
  • Edna Karr Junior High School
  • J.F. Kennedy Senior High School
  • Joseph Kohn Junior High School
  • (OPSB) Labor Contracts
  • Lafayette Elementary School
  • Thomy Lafon School
  • Lake Forest Montessori Magnet School
  • Lakeview Elementary School
  • L.B. Landry Senior High School
  • Yvonne Crespo LaPrime
  • La Salle School
  • Laurel Elementary School
  • Laurel – McDonogh #1 School
  • Alfred Lawless Elementary School
  • Alfred Lawless Junior High School
  • Peter S. Lawton School

Series III  Book 3: Subseries Le-M (including Meeting Minutes)

  • Robert E. Lee School
  • Legal Files – OPSB lawsuits handled by Polack, Rosenberg, Rittenberg, Enden (includes Bush vs. OPSB)
  • James Lewis Elementary School
  • Little Woods Elementary School
  • Live Oak School
  • Edward Livingston Middle School
  • Johnson Lockett Elementary School
  • Robert M. Lusher Elementary School
  • Macarty School
  • John McDonogh
  • John McDonogh Senior High School
  • John McDonogh No. 6 Elementary School
  • John McDonogh No. 7 Elementary School
  • John McDonogh No. 9 School
  • John McDonogh No. 10 Elementary School
  • John McDonogh No. 15 Elementary School
  • John McDonogh No. 16 Elementary School
  • John McDonogh No. 19 Elementary School
  • John McDonogh No. 24 Elementary School
  • John McDonogh No. 28 Junior High School
  • John McDonogh No. 30 School
  • John McDonogh No. 31 Elementary School
  • John McDonogh No. 32 Elementary School
  • John McDonogh No. 35 Senior High School
  • John McDonogh No. 36 Elementary School
  • John McDonogh No. 37 School
  • John McDonogh No. 38 Elementary School
  • John McDonogh No. 39 Elementary School
  • John McDonogh No. 40 Elementary School
  • John McDonogh No. 41 Junior High School
  • John McDonogh No. 42 Elementary School
  • John McDonogh No. 45 Elementary School
  • Eleanor McMain Senior and Junior High Schools
  • Charles Martin
  • Joseph A. Maybin School
  • Edwin T. Merrick Elementary School
  • Adolf Meyer Elementary School

(NOTE: Digitized versions of some meeting minute volumes can be found here in the Louisiana Digital Library.)

  • Modenbach Family
  • Robert R. Moton Elementary School
  • Isabelle R. Murphy

Series IV:  Book 4: Subseries N-P  (including Office of Planning Blueprints)

  • Medard H. Nelson Elementary School
  • New Orleans Center for Creative Arts
  • Newspaper Clippings
  • Francis T. Nicholls High Schools
  • Normal School (New Orleans Normal School)
  • Oral History
  • Mildred Osbourne Elementary School
  • PPA News
  • Partnerships in Education, 1989, 1992
  • B.M. Palmer Elementary School
  • Personnel Department (OPSB)
  • Samuel J. Peters Boys High School of Commerce
  • Samuel J. Peters Middle School
  • Edward H. Phillips Elementary School
  • Edward H. Phillips Junior High School
  • Alfred J. Priestly Junior High School
  • Public Information Office

Series V:

Book 5: Subseries Q-Z, Related Materials

  • L.E. Rabouin Vocational High School
  • Sarah Reed Senior High School
  • Registers
  • Responding to the challenge
  • Fortunatus P. Ricard School
  • Rita Roger
  • William O. Rogers Elementary School
  • Julius Rosenwald Elementary School
  • Rules and Regulations for New Orleans Public Schools
  • Samuel Scarnato
  • Henry C. Schaumberg Elementary School
  • School Profiles
  • School Board – General Files
  • School masters Club of New Orleans
  • (Dept. of) School Social Work
  • Louis Schwartz Elementary School
  • Scrapbooks
  • T.J. Semmes School
  • Joan A. Shaw Elementary School
  • Sherwood Forest Elementary School
  • Spectrum School (Formerly the Gateway II School)
  • Stier, Audrey Moulin
  • (New Program of) Studies Steering Committee
  • Office of Superintendent
  • Superintendent and Board Member Files
  • Superintendent’s Bulletin
  • Telephone Directories
  • Telephone Directories
  • O. Perry Walker Senior High School
  • Booker T. Washington Senior High School
  • George Washington Elementary School
  • Westbank Grasp
  • Phyllis Wheately Elementary School
  • Edward Douglass White Elementary School
  • Albert Wicker Elementary School
  • Fanny C. Williams Middle School
  • Slyvanie F. Williams Elementary School
  • Andrew Hawthorne Wilson Elementary School
  • Carter G. Woodson Junior High School
  • Sophie B. Wright School
  • Theses and Dissertations Concerned with the OPSB or Based In Part on Holdings now In Archives and
    Manuscripts/Special Collections, Earl K. Long Library, University of New Orleans
  • Review: Desegregation of the Orleans Parish School System, Alfred Peter Giarrusso, Ed.D.
  • Monographs based, in part or entirely, on the Orleans Parish School Board Collection, Archives and
    Manuscripts/Special Collections, Earl K. Long Library.
  • UNO Archival Collections containing information on New Orleans Public Schools
  • Related OPSB Material Available at Manuscripts Section, Howard Tilton Memorial Library, Tulane
  • OPSB Materials Available in New Orleans Public Library (Louisiana Room)
  • Additional New Orleans Public School Plans housed at NO Public Library
  • OPSB Materials Available at New Orleans Public Library (Louisiana Room)
  • Records held at the State Archives, 1994
  • Records on Education in the State Archives, received 1994

Series VI:  Book 6: Subseries Photographs (In Progress)

  • Photographs (Individuals)

Index Terms

Education--Louisiana--New Orleans

New Orleans (La.)

Orleans Parish School Board