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Gail Etienne, Tessie Prevost, and Leona Tate, wearing hardhats and holding pink and black shovels, pose together in front of the McDonogh 19 Elementary School for the TEP Center groundbreaking ceremony held on March 9, 2020, while other attendees with hardhats mill about behind them. The railing on the staircase in the background is decorated with red, white, and black balloons.

Left to Right: Gaile Etienne, Tessie Prevost and Leona Tate

Groundbreaking Ceremony March 9, 2020

Why Should You Support?

Leona Tate, Gail Etienne, and Tessie Prevost walked through the doors of McDonogh 19 on November 14, 1960 beginning the process to desegregate New Orleans.


In partnership with Alembic Community Development, Ms. Tate’s foundation now owns the school which once barred her attendance. The campus, scheduled to reopen in 2021, will provide deeply affordable senior housing, office/ meeting space for organizations dedicated to social justice as well as an interactive exhibition space in which the public can explore the legacy of Civil Rights in New Orleans. 

Your donation will make the TEP Interpretive Center possible. Exhibitions and Programs that will inspire and educate New Orleans in the history of our city, resident and visitor, alike.

  • Black Ownership -- We know U.S. History is filled with ruinous gaps that exclude African American contributions and successes. The Center exemplifies the importance of owning both the campus and the story told within.

  • The TEP Interpretive Center will be an anchor in the Lower 9th Ward. It’s programs and partners have a strong record of stability and accountability in New Orleans.

  • Reliable Partnerships -- There are many stories to be told about black life in the 9th Ward, New Orleans, and the United States. The TEP Center demonstrates how like-minded parties working together can create a cultural product and manage its location within a budget that is sustainable.


Once opened, operations -- staffing, maintenance, education, safety -- will be funded by revenue generated through visitor admissions, facility rental, workshop tuition, senior employment training programs, and grants.


Thank you for your time, and considering supporting our work.

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