Squandered Heritage Vintage

"Saved to Serve" 5323 Pitt Street Uptown

Uptown/Jefferson City
5323 Pitt St. De La Salle High School has applied to demolish Peck
formerly known as Gilbert Academy, to be replaced with a vacant lot.
building dates to 1911 and is the ole remaining building from Gilbert
Academy’s New Orleans campus. RESULT: DEFERRED TO DECEMBER 4

The matter is deferred until Nov. 9th.

Gilbert Academy had grown from being an orphanage for black children from the Civil War period to the premier private school for blacks in the city.

Louisiana Weekly

Saved to Serve

This building is located on the De La Salle High School Campus. It was difficult to get photos since the landscaping is very overgrown, but I was struck by the Motto on the building and after doing some research on this building and the school that it housed, Gilbert Academy I was suprized that the Building was being considered for demolition.

Gilbert Academy

At the southern end of the site on Pitt St. was Peck Hall, the boarding home for out to town girls who attended the Academy

Peck Hall

I imagine the photo above shows some residents of Peck Hall.

I wondered who else had been educated at the School and came across the bio of Tom Dent an important member of the cultural Community, as well as Rev. Avery Caesar Alexander a notable figure in the Civil Rights Movement. In addition Elis Marsalis attended and graduated from Gilbert.

Peck Hall

Since I have been following the demolition request post Katrina there have been a remarkable number of Schools and Institutions requesting demolitions for ‘vacant lots” which seems to be the indirect path to parking lots.

I would hope that since our recovery Funding efforts are relying on Planning that Neighborhoods would be able to view and participate in the Planning of the institutions that exist side by side with them.

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About Karen Gadbois

Karen Gadbois co-founded The Lens. She now covers New Orleans government issues and writes about land use. With television reporter Lee Zurik she exposed widespread misuse of city recovery funds and led to guilty pleas in federal court. Her work attracted some of journalism's highest honors, including a Peabody Award, an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award and a gold medal from Investigative Reporters and Editors. She can be reached at (504) 606-6013.

  • J Stratton

    Karen–a nice bit of research there. I think this might deserve the attention of the Times-Picayune. It would be a shame for this to be razed without some public airing (beyond the readership of this blog) of its history, how De La Salle has used it and what their plans are.

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  • As a note, this is the second time DelaSalle has applied for demo of this building. Last time it was denied. This time they were given a 30 day deferral. Public awareness needs to be raised on this issue. Louisiana Landmarks is trying to contact Dillard Alumni Assoc to try to spread the word about the demolition. Last time, Lolis Elie published an article on it, so we’re hoping he does so again.

  • I sent him an e mail link to this story. It would be nice if I could compile public comment here. I know that the Baronne Street Neighborhood Organization is involved. Thanks for your comment{s}

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