The Board of Zoning Adjustments on Monday approved a long-debated parking plan for a rebuilt Walter L. Cohen College Prep high school campus. The campus will have more parking spots than the School Board originally proposed, but the plan falls short of the amount lobbied for by the school’s neighbors in the Delachaise area. The high school operated by the New Orleans College Prep charter school network is set to redeveloped into a 103,000-square-foot three-story building with 35 classrooms that could accommodate about 600 students and 75 faculty and staff members. The school currently on the site will be demolished. Such a campus, according to the city’s Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance, needs 145 off-street parking spaces.
Walter L. Cohen High School, at 3520 Dryades St. in the Milan neighborhood, is offering $100 to eligible students who have received or will receive the Covid-19 vaccine. At a vaccination event on Thursday (Nov. 18), around 40 students took advantage of the offer and received their first or second shot. The initiative began Sept.
The Lusher Charter School board suspended its renaming effort after an attorney for a group of Lusher parents, alumni and students warned of pending litigation over alleged violations of the state’s Open Meetings Law, The Lens has reported. The board had formed a study group that met privately to come up with names to replace that of Robert Mills Lusher, an avowed segregationist and Confederate official, but received public pushback on the recommended names at a recent board meeting, where board members voted to form another study group.
After years of controversy and debate, the board governing Lusher Charter School officially voted on Thursday to change the school’s name to … something to be decided.
At an emotional meeting that lasted almost four hours with 90 public comments, the Lusher board voted against renaming the school after pediatric oncologist Jeanne Marie Lusher. The four board members who opposed keeping “Lusher” in the name were Alysia Loshbaugh, Rachel Wisdom, Kiki Huston and George Wilson, while the two members willing to consider it were Brenda Bourne and Gary Solomon.
“We are not the name. We are the community. We are the students. We are the faculty,” Wisdom said.
By Corinne A. Williams, guest columnist
The pandemic along with the racial reckoning in our country and, most recently, Hurricane Ida have all put New Orleans’ kids in a position to experience a collective trauma — much like people my age experienced after Hurricane Katrina. In addition to traumas already thrust upon them, children attending Lusher Charter School are attuned to many internal school-related traumas. Their school leaders have put their best interests last for one of the simplest things that they have control over: the name of their school. Lusher Charter School is named for Robert Mills Lusher, a Confederate tax collector, segregationist and unabashed member of the Crescent City White League. By today’s standards and any anti-racist standard, Mr. Lusher would be someone who should be unequivocally rejected as a person to name anything after.
By Dana Eness, guest columnist
Lusher Charter School’s long-awaited name change may come as soon as the next meeting of the school’s board, the Advocates for Arts-Based Education, on Nov. 11. This follows a very painful and very public reckoning for the namesake of an avowed White supremacist, Robert Mills Lusher. It is the hard-earned outcome of marches and other forms of protest, resistance and attempts at dialogue with the administration led by students and alumni of color and supported by allies. The outcry continued in earnest following the murder of George Floyd in the spring of 2020.
After years of contention stemming from the Robert Mills Lusher’s white supremacist legacy, the Lusher Charter School board voted Thursday to begin the process of renaming the highly rated K-12 public school, Marta Jewson reports in The Lens. After a 90-minute closed-door executive session and unanimous public vote, the board selected a committee to consider new names for the school. The Orleans Parish School Board has renamed the elementary and high school buildings, but the school name can only be changed by the charter board.
Viewpoint: Lusher parents send letter to school officials decrying ‘racism within our school community in matters symbolic, structural, and everyday’
The parents of students at Lusher Charter School sent a letter Monday (July 5) to the school’s Advocates for Arts -Based Education Board and the administration calling for a name change and for greater transparency. The action comes after a reported exodus of faculty members and the exit of Principal Steve Corbett, who is set to become CEO of Audubon Schools. The following was sent with the signatures 175 Lusher parents. Dear Members of the Board, LCS administration, and LCS Community,
We are parents of students who attend LCS, and collectively have decades of experience with LCS. We are dismayed with the administration and board’s response to student and faculty calls to confront racism within our school community in matters symbolic, structural, and everyday.
The Louise S. McGehee School won unanimous approval from City Council on Thursday (July 1) to move its child-care center to another building on campus, allowing the all-girls private school to reorganize its classroom spaces for better social distancing. A zoning-related ordinance from 2001 mandated that the school could only use the building it owned on 2336 St. Charles Avenue as an alumni center and administrative offices. As a result, McGehee School had to ask for permission from City Council to allow that building, located at the back of its campus, to be used for child care and additional classrooms.
A City Planning Commission staff report admitted that it’s unclear why the school was so limited in the first place. “The staff is unaware of the original logic for implementing this use restriction,” the report said.
It hasn’t been a good couple of months for the Dryades YMCA, the sponsoring organization for the James M. Singleton Charter School. First there were awkward questions about falsified background checks for several charter school employees. Then the CFO’s criminal history and sloppy bookkeeping also became issues. Several people, including long-time head Doug Evans, resigned. Then a Dryades Y board member stepped down to assume the top staff position at the charter school, an action the state ethics board might signal as a violation of state law.
New Orleans school Superintendent Henderson Lewis has proposed names to replace school buildings named after slave owners and segregationists across New Orleans, including eight school buildings in Uptown neighborhoods. The superintendent’s recommendations were submitted to the Orleans Parish School Board, which will have the final say in a July 29 vote. This current renaming wave is one of many in the city’s history, as community members have advocated for name changes for decades. The Black Lives Matter protests in the summer of 2020 reignited the movement for schools named after slave owners or segregationists to be renamed.
Orleans Parish School Board has the authority to change only the physical name on any school building they own. However, the charter boards of the schools within those buildings do not have to change the name of their academic program.
Henry W. Allen
Lewis chose musician and educator Ellis L. Marsalis Jr. to replace the Henry W. Allen for the school building at 5625 Loyola Ave.