Back to school: Audubon Charter parents get first look at Gentilly campus

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Charlotte Meyn, 3, and Lola Meyn, 6, look at books in a Montessori classroom at Audubon Charter School's open house at its new temporary campus at the old Jean Gordon site in Gentilly Saturday afternoon. The open house gave parents of current students a look at classrooms before their children return to school Monday. (Sabree Hill,

Audubon Charter School's new temporary campus at the old Jean Gordon site in Gentilly. (Sabree Hill,


Audubon operations director Alisa Dupre greets parents during the open house. (Sabree Hill,

Students look at books in the library at the Gentilly campus. (Sabree Hill,

Parents and students gather in the new library during the open house. (Sabree Hill,


Parents, students and faculty gather in the new cafeteria. (Sabree Hill,


The cafeteria during the open house. (Sabree Hill,


The office at the Gentilly campus. (Sabree Hill,


A Montessori classroom. (Sabree Hill,

A French classroom. (Sabree Hill,




23 thoughts on “Back to school: Audubon Charter parents get first look at Gentilly campus

  1. It is wonderful that these children will be able to attend school in what appears to be a clean, safe environment. It is very unfortunate that the children at the Carrolton Campus will not have the same opportunity. The ‘land-banked’ site is filthy and unsafe. In fact, Uptown Messenger should take pictures of that facility. Its condition is shocking. FEMA funds were recently procured for repairs, however the funds will not be utilized to renovate the portables. I know there will be comments blaming OPSB and the Master Plan, however Audubon is a charter school run by an independent Board of Directors. The BOD and Administration are responsible for the school facilities.

  2. Such a relief. These portables are great!!! I hope all the complaining stops, as this is an improvement already ,if you ask me. Bright and clean. The new building will will be worth the wait and these are fine until then.Thanks ACS.

  3. At ACS we have a list serve. On that list serve it is the policy that people list their names. It is very easy to be negative when you are anonymous…

    The new facility is very nice. .. And the new broadway campus will be lovely as well. ACS was only recently told they would receive stabilization money for the Carrollton Campus. This is great news for that campus. I have not heard that nothing will be done with the Portables at the Carrollton campus. I would be surprised if a specific plan has been made with regard to how that money will be spent. Certainly the priority has been getting the Gentilly issues solved. Everyone has always acknowledged the the Carrollton campus is a tough campus to have. We were grateful To get it after the storm. Buildings uptown are tough to find. So , there will be some waiting and some patience involved. Hopefully the stabilization money will brighten things up. it’s funny though. My kids love it. There is never a complaint.


  4. While it is certainly a relief to have children in a clean, sunny facility (albeit one with an odd chemical smell, no playground, no grass, and a full half hour’s drive from the campus where many parents have other children attending the same school) – how low are our expectations that this is such a tremendous positive? The families at Audubon have had sub-par facilities for far too long. The conditions at the Carrollton Campus are deplorable – the children in the portables cannot hear their teachers over the sound of the outdated HVAC window units, the bathrooms are horrific, and the space is dingy, cramped and smelly. If your children who have not complained are in a Montessori classroom – take a trip out to visit the French classes in the portables and you might drum up some anger over the conditions these kids have been in for far too long. That building is a holding tank, until the system can figure out what to do, and too many of you are completely unaware of how awful it is. Officials came out to visit after the stabilization funds were granted (1 year ago, plenty long enough to have taken action) and specifically stated that the portables were not going to be part of any repairs done – no “temporary” buildings are. I’m going to remove my children from the school over this – and many have done the same before me and will after me. It’s a shame that a high performing school gets such sloppy seconds when it comes to facilities. I don’t feel like my children need state of the art everything – but when a building interferes with their health and their learning – it’s a huge problem that sunny smiles and a “let’s be thankful that we have a building at all” attitude doesn’t solve.

    • The conditions are not ideal. Certainly all involved would love a new state of the art facility. But you readily admit this is a high performing school. The issues that you speak of are systemic issues and not specific to Audubon. Hines and Lusher were both housed there before moving on to their more updated buildings. Perhaps you should speak your local and state representatives regarding these concerns. For I fear the alternative is choosing a private program for our children.

      • Correct, I am not laying blame on the school. I have talked to my representatives, I have attended OPSB and RSD meetings, I have written to the RSD, I have pleaded with nonprofit, education-oriented organizations. The conditions have not changed and every indication is that they will not. And, there is no attention given to the Carrollton problem – parents at the swing site, especially those in the French program, should be hearing now about this problem and doing what they can to fix it before their own children are put in the holding tank.

        Again – it is a shame that such a high performing school suffers so dramatically when it comes to facilities.

  5. The Gentilly Campus is very nice and will be a suitable temporary site. The Carrollton building (late 1800s courthouse) is just a very old building. In fact, speaking as an old Ben Franklin graduate formerly housed there, it hasn’t changed very much (including the portables). The building itself is clean inside, but in need of some TLC. It is owned by OPSB and set to be “land banked.” But even if it weren’t, and renovations ensued, the portables would likely be demolished. I question the wisdom of investing heavily into a building that can be land banked at any time.

    • Perhaps if your children were there for four years and had several to go with no change in sight, you might be outraged that nothing was being done to the facility. It may be temporary to you, and to the school, but to my children it is their entire upper elementary and middle school experience – too many years to be left to rot. If your son were asked to use a bathroom that had no doors on the stalls daily – would you not ask that something be done?

      Temporary facilities can and should be brought up to an acceptable standard.

      • There has been a movement of a handful of French parents over the last 2-3 years to transition current students to a new program. These posts sound similar to those few. I have yet to hear of any such complaints which go unanswered at Audubon. I have also never seen such a complaint registered at the Schools online site. I suspect it’s because parents need to identify themselves online .

        • Audubon has not left the question unanswered. They will not invest in a “temporary” site. It is largely not in audubon’s hands in any event – audubon has repeatedly requested clarity on the process for getting out of that building. But they are not getting out, and children continue to be schooled in classrooms that are sub-standard. Wanting boys to be able to use a bathroom stall with a closed door when needed, or teachers to not have to choose between being heard and using the air conditioner has nothing to do with any other school. It is a shame that pointing out how low our expectations are — light and space in a classroom are a novelty — is viewed as sabotage. I want children out of the Carrollton campus, but if they must stay, I want them to have acceptable conditions.

          I do identify myself on audubon’s site…but not out here on other sites. I don’t find “rose” to be particularly identity revealing, either.

      • “If your son were asked to use a bathroom that had no doors on the stalls daily – would you not ask that something be done? ”

        Well, having travelled throughout Europe, creepy bathrooms seem to be the norm. I’d say your kid is getting the proper French education.

      • So “Audubon Parent” and “Audubon Parent of 3,” upon further investigation, it is not true that the bathroom stalls are without doors.

        Comments coming from unnamed sources on sites outside the school’s website are suspect. There is no history of registered complaints going unanswered at Audubon. And there certainly have been no such complaints registered on Audubon’s list serve. I am wishing LFNO luck in adding upper grades, just as I’m sure EB wished Audubon luck in accepting you.

  6. Thanks to Sabree Hill for taking time to photograph the new space. I admit that I was skeptical prior to Saturday and left the open house pleasantly surprised. She did a great job capturing the plentiful space and natural light. Now we need to rally for sod instead of seed in the dirt around the buildings to avoid a dust storm and get our children outside on these beautiful warm days in January. Let’s try to celebrate accomplishments and recognize progress here.

  7. It is strange to be so completely outside of what everyone else seems to be thinking. I, too, went to the old Ben Franklin at the old Carrollton courthouse site. And I, too, feel that it has not changed that much, for better or for worse. And I like it that way. Franklin moved a few years after I graduated and I remember visiting the new building and thinking how totally sterile it was. I live in an older house in Broadmoor and I love old buildings. There new, sterile buildings are sort of sad to me. Yes, it was hot and stuffy and when the windows were open noisy and when it rained all the pathways between classes leaked but I loved my school. It had character. Just my two cents.
    Oh, and I signed my name…. 🙂

      • I’m wondering if Jolynn, Rachel, Rose, Kally or anyone else defending the state of the Carrolton Campus actually have children who attend school in the portable buildings everyday. Or use the outdoor restrooms? No, it’s not easy being negative, Ms. King. It is terrible that my child’s school facility is in such poor condition. I urge anyone who doubts it to go see for themselves. Every child should attend school in a clean, safe environment. Every child should have a clean bathroom to use. It is a disgrace and those of you defending the facilities should be ashamed of yourselves.

        • Thank you for asking Audubon Parent..whoever you are.

          My oldest daughter attends school in the portables. She likes being in the portables instead of the other building because it was a sort of right of passage for Jr. High kids. She thinks the railings when you walk up the stairs are a little dirty and the rooms are a little smaller. She has always avoided the bathrooms at both campuses. I also avoided the bathrooms in my modern high school for the same reasons, and the school could not control the problem. Kids can be messy. I recall this was a problem with the boys bathrooms in the past.

          I think Rose mentioned that another audubon parent’s comment about doors was not true. I am wondering why there was no response to that…statements like these half truths and over dramatizations are what lead to accusations of sabatoge. I will ask the question someone asked in the comments under the Lycee minutes article…what about ACS threatens you so much..what is the need to constantly negatively post? Is there an agenda? Do you have loyalty to one school but children at Audubon? Is there a benefit to griping so incessantly about Audubon on a public list serve?

          Either way..I will say, I find that sometimes we attach ideas about niceness and cleanliness that kids don’t really have. Getting a locker was so exciting for my other child (also at the carrollton campus). The big play equipment out front was coveted for years. I would imagine the Presbyterian Church on Claiborne is not perfection personified…I have heard there are issues. I wouldn’t spend my days commenting on them though.

          So, I am not at all ashamed of myself. Carollton Campus is not an ideal and it is not permanent. We have stabilization money. I am sure it will help. But, even if both of my girls spend their whole school career at Carrollton, I know they will only have fond memories like Rachel. Our glass is 3/4 full all of the time and we talk about positive things. I am sure you all know how hard it is to find a building. And ACS is not really the type of school that will oust another school. So at least my kids will learn to be kind.

          I have to agree with Rose…a personal hero who I do not know (but wish I did). These comments (without names) remind me of people that I have encountered before. And before you accuse me of having agendas I will make them clear. They are as follows: I want to protect the school my children attend, while helping to improve it. I want to see my tax dollars go toward diverse schools that meet the needs of our community.

          • When parents have legitimate concerns and take them to the FAME Board or Audubon’s Administration, this is exactly the response we receive: If you don’t like it, leave. And people are leaving.
            Instead of addressing parents complaints or attempting to work with them, we are personally attacked or accused of sabotage. My complaints have nothing to do with another school. Your statements about your tax dollars are irrelevant. As a member of the Board of Audubon, you have a responsibility to improve Audubon. I hope you begin to address the concerns of the parents. Your dismissive attitude does nothing to solve any of the problems Audubon is currently facing. I ask you to stop focusing on other schools and personal agendas or vendettas and focus on improving Audubon.

          • JoLynn is a Montessori parent representative, newly elected by Audubon PARENTS in an open and free election. She is well known for her service to the Audubon community before and after Hurricane Katrina (as a mere parent). She helped Audubon get back on it’s feet following the city’s devastation. There are but few others, if any, that have consistently given so much of their time.

  8. I was pleasantly surprised at the condition of the temporary Gentilly campus… maybe it can be re-utilized for the Carrollton kids once the Lower Elem moves back into their new Broadway building?

    I have been to the Carrollton campus twice – once when I applied for the program and loved the facade & entryway, and once for Fall Fete, when I got to see the rest of the school… I must say that I felt Carrollton seemed in far worse shape than Broadway, but then there are doubtless other factors at work in determining which school gets fixed, by how much, and when.

    I’ve attended school in old buildings, new buildings, and portable buildings in California, and I am definitely impressed with Gentilly (except for the OMG distance) and rather dissatisfied with Carrollton, overall.

    Broadway/Gentilly Parent.

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