Fifty years ago this month, with many parts of the country just beginning to desegregate, New Orleans was quietly opening the doors to integrate its fire department. According to the New Orleans Public Library, George Mondy became the first African-American member of the New Orleans Fire Department (NOFD) in February 1965. A lifelong resident of New Orleans, Mondy was a graduate of McDonogh 35 Senior High School and a former drill sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps. Four years after Mondy opened the doors to other black firefighters, a young Warren McDaniels joined the NOFD's ranks. In 1993, McDaniels was appointed fire superintendent, making history as the first African-American to hold that office in New Orleans. When Mondy died in 1996, McDaniels said in The Times-Picayune that Mondy was his "hero and inspiration. Without his encouragement and support, I would not be a member and chief of the New Orleans Fire Department today," he said. Mondy retired from the NOFD in 1991 but was rehired to serve as a fire supply technician. In 1992, he was ordained a minister. Five years later, following his death, the former William O. Rogers Elementary School, at 2327 St. Philip St., was renamed in his honor.