Although the school’s name McDonogh 19 was changed to Louis Armstrong in the early 1990’s, our legacy remained a honored part of the campus’s history. Just one year after closing to students, the building sustained significant damage by Hurricane Katrina. After the waters cleared and residents began to return home, the Orleans Parish School Board reopened only one school in the Lower Ninth Ward community. McDonogh 19 remained dormant and boarded up for 14 more years.
In 2009, I founded the Leona Tate Foundation for Change, Inc. (LTFC) with the primary goal of restoring the historic property and provide a location to educate the community about New Orleans Civil Rights history. Together with our partner Alembic Community Development, LTFC purchased the property in January of 2020.
In 2021, the doors to McDonogh 19 will once again open as the Tate Etienne & Prevost Center, a safe space built on Anti-racist principles.