From 1855 to 1874, before the town of Carrollton was annexed by the city of New
Orleans, it was the seat of government for Jefferson Parish and this building served
as its courthouse. (Before 1852, the seat of Jefferson Parish had been in the town of
Lafayette--now the Garden District--but the city had annexed it in 1852.) The town of
Carrollton was annexed by New Orleans in 1874 and, several years later, the city
purchased the Courthouse and renovated it to make it a school. In 1889, ready for its
first students, it was named after the man whose bequest had made the purchase
possible and became John McDonogh No. 23 school. It remained one of the many
McDonogh schools in New Orleans until 1950.
After that, the building was vacant for several years, then opened, once more, as a
school, this time as Benjamin Franklin Senior High School. In 1990, requiring more
space, Ben Franklin School moved onto the campus of the University of New Orleans
on the lakefront.
For a few years, the building was used as an extension of the Lusher Elementary
School. It is now home to the Audubon Charter School, still serving the children of
New Orleans, as it has for over 120 years.
The photo above and the next three below were taken in the early 1900's, when it
was McDonogh No. 23.
|The Old Carrollton Courthouse
~McDonogh No. 23 School~
~Ben Franklin Senior High School~
The land where the town of Carrollton was located has an interesting history. It was
once a part of Jean Baptiste LeMoyne, Sier de Bienville's original 1719 land grant.
And, later, it became a part of the huge McCarty Plantation. In the 1830's, investors
John Slidell, Laurent Millaudon and Samuel Kohn purchased part of the plantation
and hired planner Charles Zimpel to create a street grid for the new community of
Carrollton. By the 1850's, Carrollton was booming and was a favorite weekend
get-away for New Orleanians, sometimes stopping on the train journey to spend the
night at the Sacred Heart Convent on St. Charles Avenue.
|The Carrollton Courthouse, ca. 1950's.
|The famous New Orleans architect, Henry Howard, designed the Carrollton
Courthouse. He is well known as the architect who designed, among many other
homes and buildings, Madewood and Nottoway Plantations. He was one of the most
successful and famous architects who ever called the city home. He'd immigrated to
New Orleans from County Cork, Ireland.
|Carrollton Courthouse - Audubon Charter School, 2007