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Phillis Wheatley Elementary School Demolished

Phillis Wheatley Elementary School, designed by Charles Colbert and built in the mid-1950s, was considered one of the most significant pieces of modern architecture in New Orleans. Abandoned after Hurricane Katrina even though it survived the storm very well, the threat of demolition loomed over the structure for several years. The possibility of losing this incredible building prompted its selection for the 2010 World Monuments Watch. Reuse plans were drafted and presented, and residents, alumni, and architecture enthusiasts pleaded with the Department of Education to halt proposed demolition, but to no avail. In mid-June 2011, the razing of Phillis Wheatley began. The unnecessary destruction of Phillis Wheatley, like the demolition of Paul Rudolph's iconic Riverview High School in Sarasota exactly two years ago (on our 2008 Watch), is a stark reminder of the continued fragility of our modern architectural heritage.