Posted on February 13, 2023

School District Can Remove Martin Luther King Jr. Name From Lower 9th Ward School, Judge Rules

Marie Fazio,, February 10, 2023

The Orleans Parish School Board can physically remove the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. High School name from a Lower 9th Ward high school and replace it with Dr. Alfred Lawless, a judge in New Orleans ruled Friday.

Civil District Court Judge Omar K. Mason issued the decision after hearing hours of testimony in a lawsuit the charter school group, Friends of King, had filed against the School Board aimed at preventing the school district from replacing the Martin Luther King name with the Lawless name.

Since 2015, Friends of King has run the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Charter High School in a building on Rocheblave Street at the former site of Alfred Lawless High School, which was destroyed in the flooding during Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

The school was among six whose facility names were changed by the School Board after community input amid a larger district-wide overhaul of names that honored slaveholders and white supremacists.

Alfred Lawless was a prominent Black educator in New Orleans and many of the school’s alumni had pushed for the return of his name.

But Mason said Friends of King did not prove that irreparable harm would be done to the school if King’s name was removed from the building.


Monique Cook, an assistant principal at the high school, testified that when a crane arrived at the school this week to remove the sign, it “caused a disruption” while the students were taking standardized tests. Cook said she called the police and they left.