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. But, it
serves today as the Audubon Charter School, still serving the children of New Orleans, as it has
done for almost 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.
(Something that's truly hard for us to imagine, when the same Carrollton location is only a 15
minute drive from the French Quarter today.)
|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.
|The Carrollton Courthouse - Audubon Charter School, 2007