The McDonogh 19 Project

The Vision

Leona Tate is outside the TEP Center, dressed in black and standing with her hands in the pockets of a stylish black winter coat while looking thoughtfully into space. The late afternoon light casts dramatic shadows from the trees onto the entrance of the TEP Center behind her.

Although the name of McDonogh 19 was changed to Louis Armstrong in the early 1990’s, our legacy was still an honored part of the school’s history. Just one year after closing to students, the school sustained damage by Hurricane Katrina. After Katrina, the Orleans Parish School Board opened only one of the schools in the Lower Ninth Ward community: McDonogh 19 remained dormant for the next 15 years.

 

In 2009, I founded the Leona Tate Foundation for Change, Inc. (LTFC) with the primary goal of restoring the historic property while educating the community about New Orleans Civil Rights history.  LTFC-Alembic, a development partnership created for this project, purchased the property in January of 2020. On May 4, 2022, the community celebrated as McDonogh 19 reopened as the Tate, Etienne, and Prevost Center, a safe space built on Anti-racist principles.

The main entrance to the TEP Center, located on the second floor with staircases extending along the left and right sides of the building. Carved into the stonework above the door are the words, "McDonogh Number 19 Public School."

Tate Etienne & Prevost Center

Leona Tate stands with nearly two dozen men and women in front of McDonogh 19 at the groundbreaking ceremony in 2020. Leona and the others are wearing hardhats, and most of them are holding black shovels with pink shafts as they pose for the camera.

McDonogh 19 reopened as the Tate Etienne & Prevost Center in on May 4, 2022. The renovated mixed-use facility features education and exhibition space dedicated to the history of New Orleans Public School Desegregation, Civil Rights, and restorative justice.

 

Our partner organizations, the People’s Institute for Survival & Beyond (PISAB) and Beloved Community, have relocated their headquarters to the renovated campus. PISAB’s work is rooted in community organizing and facilitating Undoing Racism® workshops.

 

The second and third floors of the historic building will house 25 deeply affordable residential units for seniors 55 and older.

Street view of the newly remodeled TEP Center, a wide, three-story former public school building in beige brick, against a clear blue sky, with two large trees in front of it.
View of a newly built TEP Center one-bedroom apartment living area with a large window, white walls, and a varnished wood floor.
View from the outer wall looking across the living area and into the kitchen of a newly built TEP Center one-bedroom apartment. The walls and kitchen appliances are white, and the floor is varnished wood.
View from the front door across the kitchen island and into the living area of a newly built TEP Center one-bedroom apartment. The walls and kitchen appliances are white, and the floor is varnished wood.