Jesuit High School (New Orleans)

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Jesuit High School
4133 Banks Street
New Orleans, Louisiana 70119
United States
Coordinates 29°58′23.0″N 90°6′12.5″W / 29.973056°N 90.103472°W / 29.973056; -90.103472Coordinates: 29°58′23.0″N 90°6′12.5″W / 29.973056°N 90.103472°W / 29.973056; -90.103472
Type Private, all-boys
Motto Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam
For the Greater Glory of God
Religious affiliation(s) Roman Catholic,
Society of Jesus
Established 1849; 168 years ago (1849)
Founded 1847
Founder Fr. Jean Baptiste Maisonabe, S.J.
President Fr. Anthony McGinn, S.J. (interim)
Principal Peter Kernion, M.Ed. '90
Faculty 120
Grades 812
Gender Male
Enrollment 1,420 (2013-14)
Average class size 24
Student to teacher ratio 12:1
Color(s) Royal Blue and White         
Slogan Men of Faith
Men for Others
Song Jesuit Fight Song[1]
Mascot Jayson Fighting Jayson
Team name Blue Jays
Rival Holy Cross Tigers
Archbishop Rummel Raiders
Warren Easton Eagles
Accreditation Southern Association of Colleges and Schools[2]
USNWR ranking 1
Average SAT scores 1917
Average ACT scores 28.9
Publication Calliope (literary magazine)
Newspaper The Blue Jay
Yearbook The Annual
School fees $6-$100 (retreat fees, depends on grade level);
$50 technology fee for those in a computer class;
$100 senior graduation fee
Tuition $ 8,250 (2014–2015)
Graduates 255(2013)
Alumni 13,500
Prefect of Discipline Lary "Top" Abshire
Student Activities Director, Matt Orillion '98
Admissions Director, Bret Hanemann '85
Athletics Director, David Moreau
Alumni Director, Mat Grau '68
Campus Ministry & Retreats Jeremy Reuther '01

Jesuit High School is an all-male college-preparatory Catholic high school in New Orleans. The school was founded in 1847 by the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits). It is centrally located in a New Orleans neighborhood known as Mid-City. Jesuit is located in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans, but the school is the responsibility of the Jesuits, not of the Archdiocese.


The mission of Jesuit High School as a Catholic, college preparatory school is to develop in its students the competence, conscience, and compassion that will enable them to be men of faith and men for others.

Jesuit is a college preparatory school with more than 99% of graduates moving on to colleges and universities across the country. Jesuit ranks among the top private schools in the nation in number of National Merit semifinalists.[3] Of the 286 seniors in the Class of 2017, 22 of them were named National Merit Semifinalists and six of them were awarded National Hispanic Scholars.[4]

Selective admission to Jesuit is based on previous academic performance, recommendations of teachers, principals, and/or church parish pastors, promise of future development, and the desire of the student to profit from the moral, spiritual, academic, and physical programs offered by the school. In the long history of the school, no student was ever refused admission because his family could not afford to pay all or part of the tuition. For students who qualify for admission, but whose families cannot afford the tuition, Jesuit has a generous financial assistance program. In the 2012-13 academic year, Jesuit provided families with more than $650,000 in tuition assistance, based on financial need only. Jesuit does not award academic or athletic scholarships.[5]

In 1967, Jesuit became the first high school in the country to have a Marine Corps Junior ROTC program. For several years, this program was mandatory for all students; the combination of Jesuit priests and Marine Corps JROTC instructors made the school's disciplinary system unique among American high schools.

Guest speakers at Assembly have included alumnus Jay Thomas, authors Pat Conroy, Tony Hillerman, Sister Helen Prejean, Orson Scott Card, Dana Gioia, and Chaim Potok, former New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin, former New Orleans mayor and alumnus Marc Morial, actor Jim Caviezel, theologian George Weigel, Jesuit Superior General Peter Hans Kolvenbach, ESPN announcer Mike Tirico, theologian and former U.S. Ambassador Michael Novak, and United States President William Howard Taft. More recently, David F. Dixon is one of the very few non-alumni guest speakers invited to address students at Assembly.


The College of the Immaculate Conception was founded in 1847 but did not open until 1849; it was both a secondary school and college, and both were located in the Faubourg Ste. Marie of New Orleans (now the New Orleans Central Business District), a block upriver from the French Quarter, at the corner of Baronne and Common Streets. In 1911, the high school and college divisions were split, and the college division relocated to St. Charles Avenue, eventually becoming Loyola University New Orleans. The high school remained on Baronne Street until 1926, when it was moved to its current location at 4133 Banks Street in Mid-City. The Church of the Immaculate Conception[6] remains on the original campus and plays an active role in the Jesuit community.

Since 1926, several additions have been made to the campus. In 1953 a wing was added along Palmyra Street; the addition included an auditorium, the Chapel of the North American Martyrs, a cafeteria, a library, several classrooms, and a band room.

Fr. Raymond Fitzgerald, S.J., (Class of 1976) served as school president and was succeeded by Fr Anthony McGinn, S.J. In May 2015 it was announced that Fr. Chris Fronk, S.J., currently on active duty as a U.S. Navy chaplain, will serve as the school's 30th president when he assumes office in November 2016.[7] The current principal is Peter Kernion (Class of 1990).


The mascot is a blue jay posed with his fists raised, designed by cartoonist Walt Kelly of Pogo fame. A contest among students was held to name the mascot, and the name "Jayson" won. The school's colors are blue and white to honor the Virgin Mary. Student athletes wear a white sweater with a blue letter "J" on it and were referred to as the "Blue Js", hence the mascot. As with most Jesuit schools, the school's motto is Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam ("For the Greater Glory of God").

The front doors of Jesuit High School, often referred to as the Mary Doors, as seen from Carrollton Ave.


Since 1933, Jesuit has won many state championships in football, basketball, baseball, and soccer. The 1946 athletic year yielded undefeated state champions in baseball, basketball, track and field, and football all coached by G. Gernon Brown.[8][citation needed] It has been said that Jesuit had "All the Tricks in '46." In the 2004–2005 school year, Jesuit won state championships in baseball, cross country, soccer, tennis, wrestling, rugby, and swimming, and went to the state playoffs in football with an undefeated regular season. In 2005, Jesuit became the first 5A school in Louisiana history to win three state championships in a row in the sport of cross country. In 2006 they continued with an unprecedented 4th cross country state championship.

Jesuit Swimming holds the LHSAA record for most consecutive state championships in any sport, with 18 straight. As of November 20, 2010, Jesuit Swimming has captured 36 state championships. The streak was broken in 2005 when the team, still feeling the effects of Hurricane Katrina, was only able to field 12 swimmers, yet still managed to come in second place, only a few points out of first. In 2006, however, the team was able to recapture the state championship. In August 2012, Jesuit's baseball team won the American Legion World Series. Jesuit's American Legion teams also won the national championship in 1946 and 1960.

In wrestling within the state of Louisiana, Jesuit's rival Holy Cross was the perennial state champs under Br. Melchior Polowy in the 40's, 50's, and 60's. Then in 1969 Jesuit hired Surachai "Sam" Harnsongkram as its new wrestling coach. In 1972 the Jesuit High School Blue Jays won the first of 18 State Championships under Coach Sam, including 11 in a row from 1988–1998. Prior to that 1972 win, Jesuit's only state championship was in 1951. And since that string-of-11 (ending in 1998) Jesuit has won 4 more state wrestling championships, with the last being in 2009. High School wrestling in Louisiana has become much more visible starting in the 1990s, resulting in other schools developing programs to challenge the "leaders". From 1999-til-2015, Jesuit has won 4 more state championships, and has been runner-up 12-times.

In football, Jesuit High School vs. Holy Cross High School is the oldest continuous high school rivalry in Louisiana and one of the oldest continuous high school football rivalries in the United States. The first game was played in 1922 (Jesuit won by 52–0) and the two teams have played every year since (twice in 1963: once in regular season and another time for the state crown which Holy Cross won) Blue Jays vs. Tigers.

In February 1965, Jesuit's all-white basketball team played a secret game against St. Augustine, the city's all-male, all-black high school. The Purple Knights won the game, which was the basis for the 1999 motion picture Passing Glory. Jesuit won the 1965 Louisiana High School Athletic Association state championship in Class AAA, which was at the time the state's highest classification, while St. Augustine won the championship of the Louisiana Interscholastic and Literary Organization, the sanctioning body for the state's black schools. In the fall of 1967, St. Augustine joined the LHSAA and became a rival for the Blue Jays in the New Orleans Catholic League through the 2010-11 school year, when the Purple Knights were forced down to Class 4A by the LHSAA.

In the 1998–1999 season, 2006–2007 season, 2008–2009 season, and also the 2009–2010 season, Jesuit fielded one of the best soccer teams in the nation, winning the Louisiana state title and in all four cases ending the season undefeated. This record gave the Jesuit team a #3 (1998–99), a #2 (2006–2007), a #1 (2008–2009), and a #3 (2009–2010) rank in the nation. The 2006–2007 team is considered the best high school soccer team in LHSAA history. In the three seasons from 2009–2011, the soccer team had a 94-game unbeaten streak, which is the fourth longest unbeaten streak in the country. In the 2007–2008 season, the rugby team won the State Championship for the sixth consecutive year with an undefeated season, only allowing 12 points while scoring over 300. Because of a conflict with the senior prom, the team was forced to play in the more difficult multi-school division at the Southern Regionals in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. The team swept regionals and moved on to become 8th in the country in the multi-school division at the USA Rugby Boys High School National Championship. The Jesuit Blue Jays Football team went to the State Championship for the 2014 season and played against the John Curtis Patriots, for the first time since 1978 against St. Augustine. Jesuit defeated John Curtis 17-14 to win the Division 1 state championship. Running back Charles Jackson was voted the game's most valuable player.[9]

Rear view of Jesuit from corner of Banks & S. Solomon

Hurricane Katrina[edit]

When the flooding following Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, Jesuit High School was inundated, five feet (1.5 m) of water ruining the ground floor. When the school announced that it was closed indefinitely, many students enrolled in schools in cities to which they had evacuated. The largest concentration of students attended a satellite school at Strake Jesuit College Preparatory in Houston; at one point, approximately 420 displaced students attended classes at night with their own teachers and classmates. In mid-October, Jesuit opened another satellite school at St. Martin's Episcopal School in Metairie in unincorporated Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, which about 500 students attended until Thanksgiving. After Thanksgiving, Jesuit's students and faculty returned to their own campus, becoming the first flooded school in New Orleans to reopen – albeit with an unusable first floor. The school held its annual Thanksgiving Drive for the poor living in the surrounding neighborhoods. On 23 January 2006, 1285 of the 1450 students returned to attend Jesuit for the second semester.

Notable alumni[edit]

James K. Glassman of The Atlantic wrote in 1978 that "Practically every white Orleanian of note went to that school".[10]

In chronological order:

Famous students[edit]

People who attended Jesuit High School, but did not graduate:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ An MP3 of the song on the school's website
  2. ^ SACS-CASI. "SACS-Council on Accreditation and School Improvement". Retrieved 2011-12-27. 
  3. ^ "2011 JayNotes" (PDF). Jesuit High School. Retrieved 27 December 2011. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ "2011-2012 Admission Brochure" (PDF). Jesuit High School. Retrieved 27 December 2011. 
  6. ^ Immaculate Conception Church, New Orleans, LA. Retrieved on 2011-05-28.
  7. ^ Fronk
  8. ^ New Orleans Times-Picayune, July 20, 2003
  9. ^ Retrieved on 2011-12-27 Rugby
  10. ^ Glassman, James K. "New Orleans: I Have Seen the Future, and It's Houston." The Atlantic. July 1978. Retrieved on November 12, 2016.
  11. ^ "Gambit's 40 under 40 (2001)". Gambit. Gambit. Retrieved 27 May 2016. 
  12. ^ Jesuit High School – New Orleans, LA. Retrieved on 2011-05-28.

External links[edit]