Built in 1855, the Carrollton Courthouse has served the public its entire life. It has been a courthouse, a community center, and, since 1889, it has been a school.
A Legacy of Public Use
Carrollton Courthouse was originally built as the Jefferson Parish City Hall. In 1874, when the area of Carrollton was annexed by Orleans parish, it remained owned by Jefferson parish, and the neighborhood community used it as a meeting hall, theater, and celebration space.
In 1889, Orleans parish bought the building and the grounds with money from the will of John McDonogh, and the building officially became McDonogh 23. It remained a school until 1950, when McDonogh 23 shut down, and the building became vacant for 5 years.
During that time the city attempted to sell it to A & P grocery store, with the plan to demolish it. The Louisiana Landmarks society and the neighborhood fought against that plan, and won. In 1955 the Orleans Parish School Board sued the city for the title of the building, and won.
And in 1956 Benjamin Franklin school for the gifted began its life in the building. It flourished and provided the city with one of its greatest schools, and some of its brightest citizens. After Benjamin Franklin gained its own campus, Lusher was able to use the building to begin their middle school program. And after Lusher gained its own building, Audubon Montessori moved in. In 2013 Audubon moved back into their renovated Broadway campus.
The building has been vacant for 4 years. If sold now we are taking the building out of public use, and depriving New Orleans of the chance for another great school to grow and flurish.