First new school in New Orleans since Katrin

First new school in New Orleans since Katrin
August 22, 2009
Don Ames

A dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony will be held this afternoon to open Langston Hughes Academy public charter school.

It's the first new public school to be built in New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina flooded the city in 2005, and the first newly constructed school since 2003.

Langston Hughes replaces the former elementary school at the same Gentilly site, near the Fairgrounds in Gentilly,

But Siona LaFrance, Communications Director for the Recovery School District of Louisiana, says this school, like 22 others to be built over the next four years, is nothing like previous New Orleans' schools.

"They're going to be the kind of schools, really, that our children saw when they evacuated and went to other places," says LaFrance.

"Keep in mind that this is an elementary school, and it's got a fully equipped science lab," she says.

The RSD and the Orleans Parish School Board will also completely restore ten other schools over the next four years.

Ground was broken last June for the new 96,000 square foot Langston Hughes Academy, after a year-and-a-half master planning process.

"It takes, realistically, about two years to build a public school. And of course our focus, initially after the storm, was on reopening schools and repairing those that could be repaired fast."

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal is expected to attend the 2 o'clock ceremony at 3519 Trafalgar Street, along with U.S. Rep. Joseph Cao, Deputy U.S. Secretary of Education Tony Miller, and Superintendent Paul Pastorek.

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