Dec 092019

Rendering of the new Walter L. Cohen High School by HMS Architects.

By Emily Carmichael, Uptown Messenger

As the old Walter L. Cohen College Prep High School building nears its demolition, community members gave their feedback on the structure that will replace it, zeroing in on parking and the auditorium.

A second community meeting was held Thursday for the project at 3520 Dryades St., which is seeking permission to have fewer parking spots and fewer loading docks than required by zoning regulations. Regulations require 154 parking spaces and two loading docks. The current plans for the new school building have 40 parking spaces and one loading dock. Continue reading »

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May 112013

Walter L. Cohen High School has run a budget deficit since it was taken over by the Future Is Now charter network that also operates John McDonogh High School, and whether Future Is Now will continue running it depends on the financial contribution that the Recovery School District will agree to, according to a report by Della Hasselle of The Lens.

Oct 082012

Walter L. Cohen High School seniors Terrell Major and Meagan McKinnon read a prepared statement about the students’ demands of school officials Monday afternoon. (Robert Morris,

Meagan McKinnon, senior class president at Walter L. Cohen High School, left campus Wednesday afternoon with no idea of the upheaval the coming week would bring to her campus.

Thursday morning, the student body was abuzz with rumors that the school was about to be merged with John McDonogh High School. At an assembly that afternoon, they found out that no merger was planned, but that the New York-based Future Is Now charter group that took over McDonogh this year would be given control of Cohen within a week, and that most of the Cohen administrators and teachers would be replaced.

Stunned, McKinnon and her classmates marched out of the building. They haven’t returned to class since then, instead alternating between protests and class time on the lawn as they demand the decisions be justified or reversed. Continue reading »

Aug 042012

New Orleans College Prep, the charter school that manages Walter L. Cohen High School, may have to dip into its reserves to cover a $300,000 gap between expenses and revenues in its $11.2 million budget for the coming year, if fundraisers and donations cannot fill the shortfall, according to a report by Yomi Akinyemi for The Lens. The budget hole comes from the expiration of previous startup grants and College Prep’s increasing portion of the costs of the Cohen building.

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Jul 312012

The New Orleans College Prep governing board — which operates Sylvanie Williams elementary in Central City and Walter L. Cohen High School — has decided to apply to run a third school, and took action on the application after a three-hour closed-door meeting that appears to have run afoul of the state’s open-meetings laws, reports Joshua Johnston of The Lens.

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May 312012

What was about to be an extraordinarily brief public meeting of the state’s top education officials at Walter L. Cohen High School became an unscripted dialogue about the transformation of that school and others into charters Wednesday evening. Continue reading »

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May 302012

The Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will meet at 6 p.m. tonight (Wednesday, May 30) at Walter L. Cohen High School, 3520 Dryades Street. Among the agenda items are a request to add an an eighth grade to Lafayette Academy, and move the preschool, kindergarten and central offices to a new site in Mid-City.

The board will also receive a report on school construction projects around the city, including Audubon Charter’s Broadway campus renovation, the construction of Lawrence Crocker campus in the Milan neighborhood, the gym construction at McMain High School, the design of the Booker T. Washington High School, and the installation of solar panels at the International School of Louisiana’s Camp Street campus.

May 112012

A map of five shootings in the Irish Channel and Central City, a murder and a gun incident at Cohen High School that all took place between May 1 and May 4. (map via

A wave of shootings in the Irish Channel that may be connected to an attack on a school bus last month and another outbreak of gun violence in the Central City area led to a joint operation of more than 40 officers being deployed to find the shooters and suppress the gunfire, authorities said this week. Continue reading »

Mar 192012

The design of the new Booker T. Washington High School building will be on display at a public meeting from 6 to 8 p.m. tonight (Monday, March 19) at New Orleans College Prep, formerly the Sylvanie Williams school, at 3127 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Continue reading »

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Feb 192012

Actor Will Farrell, the King of Bacchus, throws out cow bells to the crowd on Napoleon Ave. (Sabree Hill,

Thoth riders throw beads from the St. Charles Avenue float. (Sabree Hill,

Rachel Cannatta smiles moments after getting a giant blue monkey from a rider on a Thoth float. (Sabree Hill,

After Saturday’s cancellations, Uptown parade-goers were treated to a total of six parades Sunday — five in the morning, and the superkrewe Bacchus in the evening — with dense crowds along the entirety of each route. Continue reading »

Jan 022012

Neighbors react to a shooting in December in front of James Weldon Johnson Elementary School in the west Carrollton neighborhood. (Sabree Hill,

Editor’s note: We had originally intended to do a listing of “most popular” posts on in 2011, but in the process decided that a focus on the most important stories of the year in Uptown New Orleans would be more substantive. What follows is our assessment of the stories we’ve covered over the past year that continue to matter the most, with some commentary explaining our thinking. And, for anyone curious, those “most popular” posts are included at bottom as well. Thank you to everyone who read us in 2011, and we look forward to another year. Continue reading »

Nov 162011

The exterior of Booker T. Washington High School on South Roman Street (via Preservation Resource Center)

Supporters of Johnson Elementary took another passionate stand in support of the school’s move to the more desirable site of the old Priestley campus during a Recovery School District public hearing Wednesday evening, while Booker T. Washington supporters questioned a plan to tear down and rebuild most of that historic building to house two separate high schools, including a charter-run version of Walter L. Cohen.

Two deputy superintendents promised the Carrollton neighborhood leaders that they would be involved in an upcoming feasibility study of the Priestley site. To questions about the plans for Booker T. Washington plan, they replied only that nothing is final and that they are continuing to hear concerns from the community. Continue reading »

Nov 092011

A mural in a Walter L. Cohen High School hallway shows the tradition and pride in the school. (Robert Morris,

The state’s plan to transform Walter L. Cohen High School into a charter school over the next two years inspires a mixed reaction through the school community, based on a Wednesday night meeting with dozens of alumni, faculty, parents and students.

While some Cohen supporters agreed with the state that the school is in dire need of dramatic change to its dismal, lowest-in-the-state performance, many remain skeptical about what they see as a painful transition with an uncertain outcome. Continue reading »

Nov 032011

Walter L. Cohen High School is slated to be gradually taken over by NOLA College Prep over the next two years, one of nine struggling Recovery School District campuses around the city to be placed under control of a new charter operator, officials said this week. No other Uptown school was included in the list, but the announcement casts the challenges that Sojourner Truth Academy faces this year into sharp relief. Continue reading »