John McDonogh High School

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John McDonogh Senior High School
John McDonogh Senior High School is located in New Orleans
John McDonogh Senior High School
John McDonogh Senior High School
John McDonogh Senior High School is located in Louisiana
John McDonogh Senior High School
John McDonogh Senior High School
John McDonogh Senior High School is located in the US
John McDonogh Senior High School
John McDonogh Senior High School
2426 Esplanade Avenue
New Orleans, Louisiana

United States
Coordinates 29°58′08″N 90°03′55″W / 29.96889°N 90.06528°W / 29.96889; -90.06528Coordinates: 29°58′08″N 90°03′55″W / 29.96889°N 90.06528°W / 29.96889; -90.06528
Type Public
Established 1902
School district Recovery School District
Principal Marvin Thompson
Faculty 53
Grades 9 to 12
Enrollment 513 (2011–07)
Sports Football, Basketball, Baseball, and Volleyball.
Mascot Trojans

John McDonogh Senior High School (nicknamed John Mac) is a public high school in the Mid-City neighborhood of New Orleans, Louisiana, United States.[1] As of 2018, it is a charter school operated by Bricolage Academy.


It was originally an all-girls school and later a co-educational all-white school, but it was racially integrated after 1967. Of the New Orleans public schools, it once had an academic reputation second only to Benjamin Franklin High School. John McDonogh has a vast sport history, winning district championships in football, baseball, and basketball a combined 83 times in its 109-year history. Prior to Hurricane Katrina it had an average enrollment of 1,200, making it one of the largest high schools per enrollment in Orleans Parish.

John McDonogh became the center of national news when on April 14, 2003, tenth-grade student Jonathan "Caveman" Williams was shot and killed in the school's crowded gymnasium during a physical education class.[1]

In 2010 Paul Vallas, the superintendent of the Recovery School District, said that McDonogh should be converted into a charter school. Some teachers argued against the charter conversion. As of 2010 nobody has filed an application to convert McDonogh.[2] Around 2012, "Future is Now" took over all classes at John McDonogh.[3]

As of February 2013 John McDonogh is featured on a six-episode reality series entitled Blackboard Wars on Oprah Winfrey Network. Sandra Ewell, a woman quoted in an article by WWL-TV, argued "They're calling this school the worst school in America. These children are living up to that. They're giving it very negative connotations. These children have to go to school with that title and that's wrong."[4] The series was originally produced with the intention of showing a school improving under charter school operation.[5]

In March 2014 the Recovery School District announced that McDonogh would be renovated, so the school would close temporarily. When it reopens, Future is Now would not continue operations at the school.[5] Steve Barr, the head of Future is Now, stated that there was simply not enough demand for the school, in that not enough students wanted to attend.[6] Several individuals asked the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) to return to the school to direct control of New Orleans Public Schools, but the BESE instead voted to let the RSD ask for another charter school operator.[7] Danielle Dreilinger of The Times Picayune wrote that "John Mac has become a flashpoint for tensions over the continuing role of the Recovery system."[8]

In February 2015 Louisiana Civil District Judge Piper Griffin issued a restraining order that prevented RSD from announcing the preferred charter school operator.[9] The decision was still delayed in March of that year.[8] In April 2015 RSD announced that Bricolage Academy, a charter elementary school, would take over the space for McDonogh. Bricolage will be under the authority of the Orleans Parish School Board.[10] KIPP New Orleans had wanted the John Mac campus for its Believe Elementary School but it was turned down in favor of Bricolage.[11]


On 2016, McDonogh was closed for extensive Renovations, the school will reopen in 2017.

Student body[edit]

As of 2012 there were 389 students. On October 1, 2013, there were 311 students.[6]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ a b Young, Tara. "Student's death sparks crescendo of revenge." The Times-Picayune. Wednesday February 11, 2004. Retrieved on January 7, 2009.
  2. ^ Farris, Meg. "Potential shift to charter for John McDonogh High worries some." (Archive) WWL-TV. October 5, 2010. Retrieved on August 4, 2012.
  3. ^ Vanacore, Andrew. "Recovery School District faces anger over firings at Cohen, L.B. Landry high schools." The Times Picayune. October 9, 2012. Retrieved on March 17, 2013.
  4. ^ Satchfield, Scott. "TV show about issues at John McDonogh High School draws criticism." (Archive) WWL-TV. Wednesday February 20, 2013. Retrieved on March 17, 2013.
  5. ^ a b Dreilinger, Danielle. "John McDonogh High School, 'Blackboard Wars' focus, will close in June" (Archive). The Times Picayune. January 17, 2014. Updated October 7, 2014. Retrieved on December 19, 2015.
  6. ^ a b Dreilinger, Danielle. "Steve Barr on John McDonogh High closure: supply and demand" (Archive). The Times-Picayune. March 11, 2014. Updated October 7, 2014. Retrieved on December 19, 2015.
  7. ^ Dreilinger, Danielle. "BESE takes John McDonogh decision out of Orleans Parish School Board's hands" (Archive). The Times Picayune. November 12, 2014. Updated February 24, 2015.
  8. ^ a b Dreilinger. Danielle. "John Mac announcement, BESE open meetings suit postponed" (Archive). The Times Picayune. March 3, 2015. Retrieved on December 19, 2015.
  9. ^ Dreilinger, Danielle. "John Mac school decision is blocked by New Orleans judge" (Archive). The Times Picayune. February 24, 2015. Retrieved on December 19, 2015.
  10. ^ Dreilinger, Danielle. "John Mac, black high school, goes to diverse Bricolage elementary" (Archive). The Times Picayune. April 22, 2015. Updated May 1, 2015. Retrieved on December 19, 2015.
  11. ^ Dreilinger, Danielle. "Iberville Artspace on the rocks; charter school wants building" (Archive). The Times Picayune. April 23, 2015. Retrieved on December 19, 2015.

External links[edit]