| When wealthy recluse John McDonogh died in 1850, the residents of New Orleans and Baltimore were surprised to find themselves the beneficiaries of his considerable estate. His will specified that the money was to be used for the purpose of establishing public schools in the two cities for "education of the poor of all castes and races." When the complicated details had been hammered out and the bequest had been honored, over 30 public schools bearing John McDonogh's name had been constructed in New Orleans.
Finding photos of the original McDonogh schools was more difficult than I thought it would be. Most of the McDonogh schools were demolished and rebuilt very early on, as the population increased and larger buildings were required. (Many of these second McDonogh schools are still standing, more than a century later.) Some were even rebuilt a third time. After finding as many photos of the originals as I could, I realized that attaching the correct information to them would be a challenge. Through the years, the McDonogh school numbers were changed or exchanged (and even re-exchanged). What was once a high school became an elementary school...the school that was one number became another number. The confusion was compounded when, later on, most of the McDonogh schools were given entirely new names; not to mention the many school closings and consolidations that occurred after the levee failures. (After a few weeks of trying to sort it all out, just hearing the word "McDonogh" was enough to give me a headache. Literally.)
I'm afraid that tracking down the history of which McDonogh was which - and when it was and wasn't - requires more aspirin than I can keep in stock. What you'll find here are the oldest photos I can locate (some are original schools, some the second. some the third incarnations), along with the most accurate info I have, but I've no doubt that some of it is incomplete, at best. If you have any further information to share, please let me know. (But it might be some time before I add it, Mr. McDonogh and I have agreed to stay out of each other's way for awhile (well, okay, I'm the one who agreed, but I didn't hear any argument from Mr. McDonogh. :-) Nancy