RSD planning director Adam Hawf (from left), superintendent John White, Carrollton resident Mary DeWitt Dukes and Pensiontown Neighborhood Association president Tilman Hardy speak Wednesday night after a meeting at the Johnson School campus. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)
Stung by the pain of a broken promise, members of the James Weldon Johnson Elementary School community did their utmost Wednesday night to convince the new chief of the Recovery School District to resurrect a plan to move their campus to a safer, more prestigious site a few blocks away.
The Priestley site on Leonidas would symbolize social change, many said — traditionally, white schools in New Orleans were built on major thoroughfares like Leonidas, while black schools were tucked behind them in the neighborhood, like Johnson. But more importantly, the Priestley site is in a safer part of the neighborhood, they said.
“The crime is very high here,” said Johnson principal Wanda Brooks. “This school year, we had a killing in the back by the cafeteria.” Continue reading »