McDonogh 19 Building

Location: New Orlean’s Lower 9th Ward, Lousiana

Closing Date: November 2, 2021

Project Description & Impact: The redevelopment of the historic McDonogh #19 school building

Client: Central States Development Partners (CDE)

Financing Tools Used: NMTC financing, Historic tax credit financing, source funding, City CDBG, FHLB, AHP, Louisiana DEQ, NPS, AACR


The Story Behind this Project

The historic McDonogh #19 school building, located at 5909 St Claude Avenue in New Orlean’s Lower 9th Ward was one of the initial schools integrated in New Orleans in 1960 (six years after Brown vs Board of Ed), with three young girls (6-year old Leona Tate, Gail Etienne and Tessie Prevost) escorted by Federal Marshals through a crowd of protestors to attend the school, becoming the first African Americans to attend formerly white-only schools in Louisiana.  The three girls attended class alone in an otherwise empty building for a year and a half while their white peers and neighbors went to parochial and private schools elsewhere.  Despite this history, the building has remained vacant for 13 years following is closure in 2004 and the subsequent devastation of the Lower 9th Ward by the Hurricane Katrina levee failures.

Thanks to the help of NMTCs and HTCs, the renovated building will become an innovative educational facility with an overall mission to promote Civil Rights and undo structural racism. The renovated building will include:

  • The first New Orleans Civil Rights museum and educational space operated by the Leona Tate Foundation for Change Inc., which is dedicated to teaching New Orleans’ Civil Rights history.
  • A “Communiversity”, a place to learn from one another and teach community the dynamics of racism and humanistic organizing through classes that range from early childhood to higher education.
  • Affordable housing for seniors.