Timing it Right
Israel Meyer Augustine Middle School
Located in New Orleans, LA
- Also Known As:Samuel J. Peters Junior High School, Commercial High School
- Genre:Middle / High School
- Age:105 years
- Demo / Renovated:N/A
- Decaying for:12 years
- Last Known Status:Abandoned (currently for sale)
Photo © 2011 Tom Kirsch, opacity.us
Israel Meyer Augustine Middle School History
Originally known as the Samuel J. Peters Junior High School, this 81,931 square foot building was built in 1913, and designed by architects E.A. Christy and Charles Colbert. It was named after Samuel Jarvis Peters (1801-1855), who was responsible for founding the New Orleans Public School system with Horace Mann. Each year, the school would send a delegation with flowers to Peters' tomb on Founder's Day.
The name of the school changed a number of times over the years; first, to Commercial High School, and once again as the Israel Meyer Augustine Middle School, named after Israel M. Augustine, Jr. - the first African American elected as judge in Criminal District Court in Louisiana. It was heavily damaged in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina struck, and has been sitting vacant since.
In 2009, the school was stabilized using Federal Emergency Management Agency funds, as an assessment deemed the building was one of several "that are either contributing resources to historic districts that are listed in the [National Register of Historic Places], or are individually eligible for NRHP listing." A second assessment in 2012 appraised the structure at being worth $2.1 million. Estimated renovations costs are at $7-10 million, and the school is currently up for sale.