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(New Orleans – February 27, 2024) — The Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB) unanimously approved the creation of The Leah Chase School, a direct-run institution under the auspices of NOLA Public Schools (NOLA-PS). It will be the district's first, permanent direct-run school in 18 years. This decision marks a significant step towards providing a high-quality education enriched in the culture and excellence of New Orleans.

"It's crucial that the district take this opportunity to foster innovation and diversity when establishing direct-run schools," said OPSB President Katie Baudouin. "On behalf of the board, my colleagues and I remain hopeful for a future where direct-run schools play a vital role within a comprehensive portfolio, catering to the diverse needs of our city."

"Drawing on my 33 years of experience as an educator, I wholeheartedly embrace the opportunity of our school system to directly operate a school. Our shared priority is the well-being of our children, and it serves as the focal point for every decision we make as a board," said Leila Eames, OPSB Vice President. "This initiative is not only the right course of action but also a response to our community's long standing request spanning the past 18 years. I extend my gratitude to my colleagues for unanimously endorsing this decision, demonstrating unwavering support for our students and community in attaining a high-quality education in a neighborhood school."

Named in honor of the late New Orleans chef and beloved community figure, Leah Chase, The Leah Chase School aspires to be more than an educational institution; it aims to become a beacon of cultural richness, amplifying the voices of New Orleans' History. Ms. Leah, a teacher at heart, served food for thought along with her gumbo and shrimp Clemenceau, leaving an indelible impact on generations of diners.

Ms. Leah was not only a chef but a teacher who addressed the struggles of integration in the '60s, '70s, and '80s. She stood as a staunch critic of racism in educational reforms, advocating for black teachers during the tumultuous period after Hurricane Katrina. Through her wisdom and insights, she emphasized the importance of a quality education and the enduring impact of black teachers.

"This new direct-run school will not only embrace the vibrant culture of New Orleans and stand as a tribute to the legacy of Ms. Leah Chase, but it also marks a significant milestone in our commitment to providing a high-quality education," said Superintendent Dr. Avis Williams. "The school's educational program will be rooted in culturally responsive teaching and learning, acknowledging, and valuing the diverse backgrounds and experiences of our scholars. The school will aim to empower students to own their learning and see themselves reflected in their education.

The OPSB approved The Leah Chase School to be configured as a Pre-K - 8th school, with slow growth, to commence operating at the start of the 2024-2025 school year with K-5th grade. The target enrollment is set at 320 students, offering two sections for each grade level.

The school's comprehensive approach will include opportunities for clubs, field trips, and enriching courses such as arts and culture, music, physical education, and social and emotional support. Local partnerships will further enhance the educational experience, honoring the legacy of Leah Chase and the rich history and traditions of New Orleans.

The school stands poised to continue her tradition of excellence, fostering positive self-identity, academic growth, and social-emotional well-being. Its comprehensive approach, cultural enrichment, and commitment to positive self-identity align with Ms. Leah's vision for education. The Leah Chase School is not just a school; it's a tribute to an educator and community leader whose lessons will endure for generations to come.


Superintendent Williams will host a press conference to provide further details about The Leah Chase School and how the district envisions operating the school in time for the 2024-2025 school year.

Date/Time: Thurs., Feb. 29 - 1:00 PM

Location: NOLA-PS Central office, Board Room - 2401 Westbend Pkwy, NOLA 70114

Live Stream: NOLA-PS' Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube


The establishment of The Leah Chase School follows the Orleans Parish School Board's decision, based on Dr. Williams' recommendation not to extend Lafayette Academy's contract in Fall 2023. NOLA-PS engaged in the district's open siting process to ensure the continued operation of The Leah Chase campus for the 2024-2025 school year, which previously housed Lafayette Academy Charter School. This open siting process is activated when a current charter operator relinquishes its charter, faces revocation, or encounters nonrenewal. In such cases, an open siting process is initiated to determine the future of the school.

Families with scholars currently enrolled in Lafayette Academy in grades K-4th and 5th graders who will be repeating fifth grade during the 2024-2025 school year will receive closing school priority through New Orleans Common Application Process' (NCAP) Main Round. If Lafayette families wish to remain at the Leah Chase campus, their scholars will be guaranteed a seat at The Leah Chase School and will be required to submit an application through the NCAP. This will ensure their scholars are properly recorded in the district's enrollment system. In addition, families with students in K-5 who did not submit an application during the NCAP's Main Round will be automatically enrolled in The Leah Chase School.

In honoring the legacy of Leah Chase, The Leah Chase School stands poised to continue the tradition of excellence in education, inspired by the indomitable spirit of a true teacher and community leader, Ms. Leah Chase.


About NOLA Public Schools: NOLA Public Schools is the public school district for Orleans Parish. It includes the district's administration and elected school board, known as the Orleans Parish School Board. NOLA Public Schools currently oversees 67 public schools and is led by Superintendent Dr. Avis Williams, the first woman in the District's 181 years to serve as its permanent superintendent.

For more information, visit For updates, follow NOLA Public Schools on Facebook @NOLAPublicSchools, Instagram @nolaps and Twitter @NOLAPSchools.

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