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What is the history of the art deco building at 727 Carondelet St.? 

Blake Pontchartrain: The New Orleans N.O. It All

click to enlarge The International High School of New Orleans on Carondelet Street was built in 1937 in the then-popular art deco style. Today it houses a charter school, as well as Bard Early College.

Photo by Jeanie Riess

The International High School of New Orleans on Carondelet Street was built in 1937 in the then-popular art deco style. Today it houses a charter school, as well as Bard Early College.

Hey Blake,

What is the history of the art deco building at 727 Carondelet St.? The front reads "L.E. Rabouin Memorial School," but current signs read "International High School of New Orleans."

Little Bro

Dear Little Bro,

  The building was completed in 1937 as a memorial to Louis E. Rabouin, who before his death donated $300,000 to build a school in his name. Rabouin was born in New Orleans in 1853. Rabouin was 13 when his father died, and the teenager had to help support his seven siblings. He dabbled in cotton, stocks and real estate, then served as president of the Liberty Homestead Association for 33 years. When he died in 1933, his wife, Louise Marie Jewett Rabouin, made sure the Orleans Parish School Board received the donation for a school. E.A. Christy, supervising architect for the school board, designed the building, which cost $350,000.

  The school initially was named L.E. Rabouin Memorial Trades School and later L.E. Rabouin Vocational High School. In the late 1930s and early '40s, it was a girls-only school with about 900 students. It offered courses such as domestic science, millinery, flower arranging and sewing. Students designed and sewed costumes for several Carnival krewes.

  The Recovery School District took over the building after Hurricane Katrina and the levee failures of 2005. Several years ago the building became a charter school called International High School of New Orleans, which focuses on diversity, multiculturalism, business and foreign languages. The building also houses Bard Early College, a program that allows high school students to take courses taught by college faculty and receive college credits while also earning a high school diploma.

  A bust of L.E. Rabouin stands in the foyer at the school's main entrance.

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