The firm I work for is rebuilding Mildred Osborne School on Curran Boulevard. This school is part of the Recovery School District. We have done our own research as to who Mildred Osborne was and have come up empty. Can you provide us with some information as to her identity?
It's no wonder a school was named for a woman so dedicated to improving her community. Born Mildred Irene Durkee on May 8, 1914, on a farm near Billings, Okla., she graduated from high school and took business courses in Tulsa, Okla.
After moving to New Orleans, she married Gerald W. Osborne, with whom she reared four sons.
In 1948, Mildred Osborne became active in civic affairs and was a member of the League of Women Voters. For many years after that, she devoted her time to working for the schools of New Orleans. She was active in the Robert Lusher and Eleanor McMain Parent-Teacher Associations, the Children's Bureau, the Orleans Parish School Board, the Modern School Development Association, the Louisiana Children's Council for Public Schools, the Council of Social Agencies, the New Orleans civic council on public education, the White House Conference on Education, the Public Education Association of New Orleans and the Adult Education Association of Louisiana. Her work brought about improvement to the schools of New Orleans.
Osborne edited educational publications for the League of Women Voters, chaired the New Orleans League's education committee and served as vice president of the Louisiana League. She would have become the president of that group had she not succumbed to illness.
Mildred Osborne died in New Orleans on July 19, 1963, and was buried in Perry, Okla. In 1969 a new elementary school in New Orleans was named in her honor.
I just moved into the tiny triangular neighborhood once known as the Black Pearl just west of Audubon Park. Can you tell me what you know about the history of this neighborhood?
In 1973, city planners started using the term "neighborhood" for planning and gathering socio-economic data. They divided the city into 72 official neighborhoods, and one of the tiniest was named Black Pearl in 1974.
Black Pearl is a rather isolated, quiet neighborhood. Its boundaries are the Mississippi River, St. Charles Avenue and Lowerline Street. The neighborhood is very diverse, and it doesn't flood. Lately, I've heard folks refer to this neighborhood as the Uptown Triangle, although I'm still fond of its original name.
Laurent Millaudon, a wealthy investor who has a street in the neighborhood named for him, was one of the first residents of the area, which was once part of a sugar plantation and later part of the village of Carrollton. Carrollton grew rapidly and was incorporated into a town in 1845, but it wasn't until after the Civil War that the Black Pearl area began to fill with residents. Many of the folks who settled there were poor. Needing inexpensive housing, some came to live in newly built tenements that were located on the higher, drier ground provided by the natural levee in the area.
At 147 Millaudon St. in the Black Pearl neighborhood is the Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church where Mahalia Jackson used to sing. Her gospel singing introduced Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. when he gave his "I Have a Dream" speech in Washington, D.C.