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They lost me at "predominantly white", i.e., in the first sentence. They oughta come down to Freret St. at 3:30 in the afternoon and explain predominantly white to all the non-white kids I see every day.


Yeah...I tried to preface that link.

He's also factually incorrect. If you call Fortier "historically black", then your history doesn't go back too far...

One of the things that made me like Lusher enough to move into the district was that the racial makeup of Lusher almost perfectly mirrored the racial makeup of New Orleans.

Like I said, I trust the prinicipal...but Cowen stirring the pot scares the hell out of me.

G Bitch

Yeah, "predominantly white Lusher/Audubon" is a local myth/conspiracy theory that is held onto for dear life. Wrongs in the past were never acknowledged and instead of moving on, which is harder, some stay stuck. Their lies don't tell enough of the truth, though. Yet I, too, saw Lusher and Audubon as "white" schools until I saw them. And then I wondered what the hell was going on, why factual information had nothing to do with the conversation (OK, monolog by all-too-often-crazies).

I went to Franklin in the early 80s. Blacks were still a sight there, and tight-knit; most black kids went to 35. But I also knew white kids who scored well below what was publicized as the cut-off score on the entrance exam but they were my classmates. In a totally fucked-up atmosphere (some folks fall the hell apart once race enters anything, it seems), it takes just one exception or bit of unfairness or confusion or privilege to fuel a complex string of conspiracy theories that use truth like salt (instead of the main ingredient). Poor schools in the rest of the city haven't helped. When you don't learn much about thinking, it's hard to make rational decisions, or any kind of anything, based on facts. I'm not going to get into logic.

It's also economic resentment, also fueled by suspicion and conspiracy theories. (Those damn CPs!) I can't afford to live in Lusher's district as far as I can tell and a lot of folks looked/look at that as indicative of Excessive Unfairness. I mean, shit happens, right? But it can't be denied that historically most white folks here have been "luckier."

Generally, when there are 3 apples, everyone fights over them.

I wish now were a time we could all start over in some respects, not forget the past but move forward.

Cowen scares the hell out of me, too.


G, I'm wif' ya.

We're mortgaged to our teeth to live in Lusher; 1450 square feet for a family of five. But it's better to pay extra on the mortgage than to pay an extra n thousand a year to send the kid to any private school.

I wrote a few months back that it would be great if the NO public schools could be totally reborn. It would, too. Especially if we don't lose anything, like the sounds of the Fortier marching band.

"But it can't be denied that historically most white folks here have been "luckier."" -- True dat, and those that deny it are delusional.

I like that term "economic resentment". One of the things that initially turned me off to Shelley Midura was the fact that she went to Newman -- I didn't want some privileged rich uptowner governing my district.


Tonight at the Lusher open house I did some rough demographics. Counting just raw numbers of parents, in no class did white parents number more than 50% of the total, and except for a sprinkling of various kinds of Asians, the vast majority of the balance were black. In a few classes black parents were clearly in the majority.

Clearly unscientific. Maybe white parents are just less involved in their kids education, I don't know.

G, you went to Franklin in the early 80's? What year? I graduated in 82.

G Bitch

Ray! No, you did not! I graduated in 84! And your survey is no more or less scientific than what the conspiracy theorists base their ideas on. I completely believe you. I've seen it myself. Resentment can be blinding for some folks.

Ashley, I totally feel ya on the mortgage + tuition thing. This is the last year we'll be able to pull it off. When The Girl was ready for kindergarten, we went to a Lusher meeting and the first thing out of the principal's mouth was, and I shit you not, "There's no hope you'll get your child in because there are too many students and only a few slots." She wasn't joking. (I think she added to give up but that could be exaggeration and the distortion of time.) And by the time they got to The Girl's name on the waiting list, we'd already accepted an offer, afraid we'd never get the call. (Private schools will wheel and deal for a smart black child.) I have few regrets, though. She may find herself at Lusher yet.....


Hee! I now have G's 9th grade yearbook photos for perusal at the next Geek Dinner.


YES!!! Make a name badge for her.

G Bitch

I will slander you ALL!!!


I say you post it on your blog. That way we can all get a copy.

G Bitch

Ray, man, don't listen to him, really, man, I'm beggin' you, man, it's me, G Bitch, your old pal, Ray?!? RAY!?!


I'll keep it in my back pocket. Some day it'll really REALLY come in handy.


It's quite a star-studded yearbook, actually, now that I look at it. One Marsalis, two of Kidd Jordan's kids, Lolis Elie, Wendell Pierce (of "The Wire"), one G Bitch.

"Predominantly white", I guess, but all the black kids got famous.


THat link was absolutely sickening. A distilled example of what has held New Orleans schools back for years.

Do you know why things are getting done at the building now that's Lusher instead of Fortier?

Maybe it's because it's "predominantly white." Or maybe it's all those parents that were out there weekend after weekend busting their ass in 95-degree heat to get the school ready. Maybe it's because Fortier parents stay involved and ask tough questions about where the money is going, instead of sitting idly by while a corrupt, incompetent school board steals hundreds of thousands of dollars.

It's not like Fortier's parents didn't know the school was a ruin. They just couldn't be bothered to do anything but complain and wait for someone else to fix it.

Things are getting done at Lusher now because it's a "predominantely children whose parents give a rats ass about their education" school.

The attack in that article is the hallmark of a widespread, deep-seated antipathy toward eduction in New Orleans that has been around for years. Not only do we not demand good schools, we actively attack those who dare to try and create good schools. Anyone who wants good schools for their kids is obvioiusly an "elitist," since only the elite value education.

I went to Franklin in the 80's too, and it was painfully clear even then that there were many in the Orleans Public Schools administration who would have liked nothing more than to "bring it back to earth" with the rest of the schools. Funding during my years there was scarce-to-nonexistent.

There are waaaay to many people still in this town that are, in their heart, resentful of any good school. And although it's not the current Nagin-mode politics to imply less than total uncritical acceptance of everything, the simple truth is that the city and it's children will be a lot better off with a little more vocal intolerance of that anti-education attitude.

Myron Johnson

I'm a Fortier High School Alumnus (79) and would like to hear from others. contact me at


Myron A. Johnson


it could be change two lusher but i,know deep down in my heart it's fortier,but the band are missing


In the Summer of 2009 a Non Profit Program Called The Alcee Fortier Community Music Program organized by Sean Thomas and Derius Harrell will kick off. The music program will be accepting kids from across the City of New Orleans ages ranging from 7 to 18 years of age. The mission of the program is to transform the lives of children and families—inspiring musicians of all ages and levels, through establishment of comprehensive arts programs focusing on musical education and performance. Through teaching, mentoring, and performance activities, we will better prepare our youth for challenges they face throughout their lives. If anyone is interested in participating or donating your time in this youth program contact Sean or Derius at or visit the website

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A great man is always willing to be little—R. W. Emerson
It is not enough to be industrious, so are the ants. What are you industrious for?— H. D. Thoreau


Chris,I do have some quantitative data rndargieg demographics of performers, as well as where and when people began learning improv. For the the demographics of performers N=65. For the info on when and where people learn N=75. Dan Goldstien is also a good person to connect with on this matter. He's got a PhD in Psychology, and he gave me some scope on what sorts of psych research had been done. I think you should be able to access my thesis through the Portland State University Library. They have it in PDF format. It's got way more detail and background, obviously, but it also has the distilled report of the performer demographics in the chapter Performers . I'd love to connect more with you about this.

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