Carrollton was incorporated as a city on March 10, 1845. In 1852, the neighboring town of Lafayette, formerly the seat of government for Jefferson Parish, was annexed to the City of New Orleans. The following year, voters selected Carrollton as the new seat of the Jefferson Parish government. In accordance with its new position, the city government would build a new courthouse and jail. The property was purchased for $7,000.
From 1855 to 1874, Carrollton served as the seat of government for Jefferson Parish. During those 19 years, the courthouse was the scene for many interesting criminal and civil court cases that would shape the future of Carrollton. Justice was service as were death sentences. Hangings took place behind the courthouse near the jail.
When the town of Carrollton was annexed to the City of New Orleans in 1876, the courthouse was primarily vacant and used by the community and surrounding neighborhoods as a space for public events. However, the jailhouse continued to be functional until it was closed in 1932 due to reports that inmates were disturbing the children.
McDonough No. 23 closed in 1950. Five years later, the School Board sued the City of New Orleans over rights to the property. New Orleans wanted to use it as a Civic Center, yet the School Board, who was using the building as a warehouse, wanted to open another school. The School Board won, and the second school to inhabit the old courthouse was Ben Franklin High School.
Ben Franklin High School was renowned for its highly-competitive coursework. Their exemplary academic performances have developed a high-volume of Rhodes Scholars. The school has even been ranked as a “top public high school in the nation” by several publications. Ben Franklin moved to a larger building in 1990, which allowed Lusher Middle School to step in and take over the campus. Lusher also had an impressive academic output. Their rigorous academic and arts-based programs have been nationally recognized. Like Ben Franklin, Lusher also moved to a different location. Audubon Charter School became the fourth school to occupy the old courthouse in 2006. The school is the only public elementary school in Louisiana to teach the French curriculum that is accredited by the French Government.
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