Lt. Governor Nungesser Unveils Louisiana Civil Rights Marker at McDonogh 19 Elementary School in New Orleans
NEW ORLEANS (press release) – Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser and the Louisiana Office of Tourism launched the next series of Louisiana Civil Rights Trail marker unveilings. The McDonogh 19 Elementary School marker was unveiled in a ceremony at the Tate, Etienne, Prevost Center (TEP), formerly known as McDonogh 19 Elementary School in New Orleans.
“We are proud to tell this story of the ‘McDonogh Three’ and to commemorate an iconic landmark for visitors and Louisianans to know about, learn from and visit. This Louisiana Civil Rights Trail marker unveiling is a continuing effort to recognize and bring to life Louisiana’s role in the modern civil rights movement,” said Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser.
McDonogh 19 Elementary School – the Tate, Etienne, Prevost Center (TEP) – was one of the initial two schools selected to be desegregated in New Orleans. On November 14, 1960, three six-year-old girls – Leona Tate, Gail Etienne, and Tessie Prevost – integrated McDonogh 19. Known as the “McDonogh Three,” U.S. Marshals escorted the girls every day, and were the only students to attend the school for months. The girls had recess indoors, ate under staircases, and the windows were covered at all times. The girls’ parents responded to a request from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and volunteered them to participate in the integration of the New Orleans Public Schools. The other school selected to be desegregated was William Frantz Elementary. The McDonogh 19 Elementary School marker will be located at the entrance of the girl’s former 1st grade classroom inside the TEP Center at 5909 St. Claude Avenue.
Later this month, Louisiana Civil Rights Trail marker unveilings will be held in Pineville and Bogalusa. The Louisiana Civil Rights Trail markers are placed in cities and towns across Louisiana depicting the significant role the state played in shaping American history during the 1950s and 60s and drawing attention to the courage and commitment of the leaders of the movement. The dynamic, life-sized Louisiana Civil Rights Trail markers provide a compelling interactive experience for visitors making them feel a part of the civil rights journey.
In 2021, the first series of Louisiana Civil Rights Trail markers were installed at Little Union Baptist Church in Shreveport, Dooky Chase’s Restaurant in New Orleans, and the Louisiana Old State Capitol and A.Z. Young Park in Baton Rouge.
About the Markers
The Civil Rights Markers are life-sized metal figures that are cut from steel, weigh over 200 pounds and stand over 6 feet tall. The fabrication of the interpretative markers for the Louisiana Civil Rights Trail is being supported in part by an African American Civil Rights grant from the Historic Preservation Fund administered by the National Park Service, Department of the Interior.
The Louisiana Civil Rights Trail
The trail is a cultural tourism product that informs, inspires, and invites visitors to experience and explore Louisiana’s prominent role in the modern movement. The trail reveals inside stories and examines the civil rights era from culture and commerce to desegregation, protests, and confrontations. Two years in the making, the Louisiana Civil Rights Trail was developed with community vision and public submissions from across the state. Twenty-two meetings were held in every region of the state and university scholars and subject matter experts reviewed all submissions. To learn more about the unique and important history of the movement in the State of Louisiana or to nominate a site, a person, or an activity for inclusion, visit LouisianaCivilRightsTrail.com.