Leona Tate and the Leona Tate Foundation for Change joined forces with Alembic Community Development to redevelop the McDonogh 19 building into 25 affordable senior living apartments, with ground-floor offices for two community non-profit organizations, the Leona Tate Foundation for Change and The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond. The facility will be called the Tate Etienne Prevost (TEP) Interpretive Center.
The Steeg Law Firm was privileged to represent Leona Tate and the Leona Tate Foundation for Change in this transaction. A complex combination of public and private funding and tax credit financing, on multiple levels, together with significant government grants, was necessary in order to make the project viable.
Leona Tate, executive director and founder of the Leona Tate Foundation for Change, announced on February 10, 2022, that the renovation of the former McDonogh 19 Elementary is nearly complete and that she expects tenants to move in by the end of the month and the Civil Rights center to open in March.
Leona Tate, Gail Etienne and Tessie Prevost were all escorted by federal marshals and, simultaneously with Ruby Bridges, became the first Black persons to attend an integrated public school in New Orleans, Louisiana. That was McDonogh 19, at 5909 St Claude Avenue.
Leona Tate will be able to re-enter that same building, continuing the work for equality that she began in the same location sixty-two years ago.
As reported in New Orleans CityBusiness, Tate said of this moment, “My dream has come true. It’s still a dream to me. I just thank God that I lived to see it.”
Learn Tate Foundation for Change
The Leona Tate Foundation for Change is a community organization dedicated to the history of the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans and the accomplishments of its residents, as well as to the broader civil rights movement in general. Ms. Tate combined forces with Alembic Community Development for the redevelopment of the school building, and the synergy between them was evident at the ULI presentation. Mike Grote of Alembic gave a detailed presentation of the history and significance of the building, and in doing so he revealed the genuine affection and respect that he and his colleagues at Alembic feel to this building, this project, and its mission.