Thursday, March 4, 2010

Demolition Permit for 1st Modern School in New Orleans

Permit here. View vintage photo in The Historic New Orleans Collection

The Avery Alexander (McDonogh 39) Elementary School in Gentilly (3800 St. Roch Avenue) was designed by Curtis and Davis in 1952.  It was recognized as a model facility and was the first modern school built in New Orleans. This is a "finger school" in plan, with four lengths of classrooms connected at one end to a broad wing of administrative offices, the library and auditorium. The bands of classrooms are connected by an exterior corridor on one side. Both sides of the classrooms and the hall have operable aluminum and glass windows, so they benefit from ample natural light and ventilation. In addition, the hall also filters the sunlight from the classroom, reducing heat gain. Grassy courtyards fill the space between the stretches of classrooms. While the school flooded post-Katrina, the design of the structure is historically significant and appropriate to our climate. 

In 2008 the Louisiana Landmarks Society acknowledged McDonogh 39 along with Wheatley, Lafon and Carver Schools in its New Orleans Nine Most Endangered List. The school is outside the jurisdiction of the NCDC, so the demolition permit was granted without review. 

Nominations to the 2010 New Orleans Nine Most Endangered List are due March 22. [info, forms]

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