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McDonogh 35, Louisiana’s first black public high school, still thrives after 100 years

NEW ORLEANS -- February is Black History Month, a month-long celebration remembering the important contributions that African Americans have made in our nation's history.

In honor of Black History Month, News with a Twist is featuring the people and places of New Orleans and beyond that helped to shape our community.

Today, we salute McDonogh 35 High School.

Before 1917, if black student wanted to go to school beyond eighth grade, they had to attend one of three private schools for black students: Leland College, New Orleans University or Straight College.

In 1917, a group of residents petitioned the Orleans Parish School Board for a high school that would serve black students. Thus, the first public high school in the state for African Americans was born.

McDonogh has been housed at five different locations since its inception more than 100 years ago.

The original building on South Rampart Street was destroyed by Hurricane Betsy, and then it moved for four years to an old federal courthouse on Camp Street. After that, it was housed in the 100 block of St. Ann Street before moving to a new building at 1331 Kerlerec Street in 1972.

Today, it's located at 4000 Cadillac Street in Gentilly.

Our Black History Month series is brought to you by The King Firm.