The Xavier Prep Family and the Drexel Dream

Xavire Prep- Class of 1933 (#1)

Graduating Class of 1933

( Click image to enlarge photo )

Pictured above are the graduates of Xavier University Preparatory School of 1933.  All students’ names are listed but unfortunately they are listed only in alphabetical order. Hopefully, many of you will be able to recognize family members and friends of long ago.

Albert Arceneaux, Robert Aubry, Robert Balthazar, Lenora Barrow, Onelia Bazanac, Vallie Bryant, Euphemia Cappie, Olive Charles, Alice Colin, Paul Colin, Claude Dapremont, Marjorie Darensbourg, Odile Darensbourg, Olga Dauphine, Emma Davis, Warren Davis, Bithella Davis, Nathaniel Dominique, Daniska DuCong, Alice Dungey, Walter Ellis, Louise Ellsworth, Mildred Fauria, Euphemie Fortune, Hildred Fortune, Stella Fritz, Dorothy Gaudet, Allen Hamilton, Sterling Jacobs, Elva Jones, Richard King, Marie Andree Lawrence, Elise Leonor, Bernice Lewis, Cornelia Lewis, Annabelle Louge, Alfred Marvray, Camille Perrin, Edna Ricard, Leona Rousseve, Leonie Rousseve, Onelia Sayas, Thomas Taylor, Rosalie Taylor, Mary Agnes Terrell, George Thompson, Eloise Touchard, Lucille Tureaud, Jonald Walker.

It all began in the month of September, 1915. Aware of the serious lack of Catholic-oriented education available to young blacks in the South, Mother Katharine Drexel (now Saint  Katharine Drexel) came to New Orleans with the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament to establish a high school on the site previously occupied by Southern University.

Registration took place on September 13 with 50 students enrolled. By the end of that week, 200 students had entered the doors of “Southern University” under the patronage of St. Francis Xavier. Mother Katharine had arrived in New Orleans on September 11,1915 to supervise the proceedings. Grades 8, 9, and 10 were taught at first. During registration many students  pleaded with Mother to open up an 11th grade which she did. New teachers were needed within the first month. The sisters worked very hard moving desks, getting classrooms ready, and assisting the workmen whenever possible.

Finally, opening day, September 27, 1915 came and it was a great success. Two days later, storm weather approached  and a major hurricane with winds up to 120 miles per hour had arrived. By noon, the chimney had blown off  the school  but the Sisters continued to teach for most of the day. The rain was coming in onto the floors of the school and students were finally  dismissed when the winds subsided. Many  schools were closed for weeks after the hurricane but St. Francis Xavier was closed for only one day!!

In May of 1916, the school’s name was officially changed to Xavier University. In 1917, a two year Normal School was added for the purpose of training young  people to become teachers. By 1925, Xavier University became a reality when the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences was established. Recognizing the need for a special identity and room to expand, Mother Katharine in 1929 bought a tract of land on Palmetto and Pine in uptown New Orleans. By 1933, the university had its own campus. The high school on Magazine Street was changed to Xavier High School. Then in 1932, the school’s name officially became Xavier University Preparatory School.

The class photo(shown above) from 1933 is one of the earliest I have been able to find. Yearbooks appear not to exist, only class photos for the 1920’s-1930’s and maybe 1940’s for Xavier U. Preparatory. This class photo is from my personal family collection but, based on my research, Xavier University’s Archival Department has the most extensive collection in the city of early records on the”Prep”.

Sources:  Xavier University Preparatory School 75th Anniversary Book (1915-1990); www.xula.edu/about-xavier/history.php; Class Photo of 1933(personal family collection); 17th Annual Commencement Program- Xavier Preparatory 1933 (personal family collection).

Lolita V. Cherrie

13 thoughts on “The Xavier Prep Family and the Drexel Dream

    • Xavier University’s Archives is the reasearch facility to have yearbook info on the ones you’re searching for. I will check there this week for you and let you know if I find anything….Lolita

  1. Lolita,
    Alice Colin was standing in the second row, second from the left. She was a very short person and my dear aunt. Her cousin Edna Ricard is also in this photo.

  2. I attended the 75th Anniversary with my husband Roland and sat with the Class of ’62, with all of my old home-room friends, like football, band, basketball and cheerleaders, which I was one of. My husband got to see the great people I attended with, as he is a New Yorker. I attended from 1958-62. I miss those days, but I haven’t forgotten what the XUP experience was. My 3 sisters graduated in 1959, 1964 and 1966 respectively when XP was co-ed and our rival was St. Augustine and St. Mary’s Academy were their cheerleaders. There were only 3 Catholic High Schools for People of Color. Hail all Hail XU!

  3. Thank you so much for sharing this picture! The woman 2nd from the left in the first row is my grandmother Lucille (Tureaud) Kay. We have very few pictures and none from her life before moving to San Diego so this is a beautiful gem.

  4. My father was in the first class at XP according to my conversation with him..He did not graduate and only attended two years.
    Is there any record of students’ names from 1915 or1916?
    My Father’s name : Willie J.Humphrey

  5. Hi Terrence, The Prep did open in 1915 but I have not found a list of the names of students that attended that year nor 1916. The earliest list I have is that of the 26 students who graduated in 1917 which I will be posting in the next article on CreoleGen. I’m pretty sure your dad was correct so I’ll check soon to see what I can find. What a great musician he was!! Remember that great Dixieland Jazz from your place to ours; Liberty and Cadiz Streets.

  6. Thank you for the memories. Your sharing has brought a smile to my face. I recognized her before I saw the name …3rd row from bottom, 4th individual, left to right and listed as Elise Leonor is my father’s sister, Elise Juanita LeNoir m., Morris. 10-25-1916. She will be 100 yrs 10-25-2016. Lives in Houston, Texas. Her parents were York Alonzo (YA) LeNoir of Enon, MS and Ivy Anita D’Arensbourg-LeNoir of Lucy, LA. She was a teacher for over 50 years in the Houston (Harris County) School District.

    • Elise Juanita LeNoir-Morris passed away 2016, two months before her 100 birthday and is buried in Houston, Texas where she resided the majority of her adult life. She leaves 3 children and 7 grandchildren. She was one of the founding members of the Drexel Society.

  7. My aunt (my mother’s sister) is listed among the graduates of 1933. Her name was Mildred Fauria. I believe her to be in the third row up from the bottom in position 6 (from L. to R.).

  8. Madelyn Murry, That means your aunt Mildred Fauria knew and graduated with my aunt (my father’s sister) Elise LeNoir (name is misspelled on the photo list, 3rd row, from left to right, 4th student). She stared an organization called the Drexel Society, obviously named after Mother Drexel. She passed away 7-31-2016 and would have been 100 October 26, 2016. She lived in and taught school in Houston Texas for many years..

  9. REMEMBER WHEN WE WERE YELLOW JACKETS in our Black-Gold & White.
    I attended Xavier Prep form 1963-1964 as a student-Athlete from Carter G. Woodson Jr. High School.Coach Willie ‘Bullet’ McKey at Xavier Prep signed Sam ‘Chop’ Holden, Curtis ‘Fluff’ Anderson, Michael ‘Pepper’ Hayes and I to play football and run track.
    We lost the Louisiana Interscholastic Athletic and Literary organization (LIALO) Football City Championship to St. Aug. in 1963 at the old City Park Stadium. We were CO-Champs led by the Prep Yellow Jacket Awesome Six: King Ceaser, Czolgus Evens, Michael “Pepper’ Hayes,Henry Braden, Wayne Reese, and Kirk Clayton
    However, I redeemed Xavier Prep’s sporting honor in 1964 by defeating St.Aug.; winning the City and District-III Title in the 100 yd.and the 220 yd dash’s. With these wins, I set new track record in both events that were held by a fellow Prepster Douglas Elay. I have photos of the events but could not attach to this e-mail. I will send them to this web site director.
    The next year Prep discontinued sports and I transferred to Scotlandville Senior High School in Scotlandville, La. (Baton Rouge,La) The rest of my story is the writing legend are made. Now,view the Scotlandville Sr. Hi. School link to read more.
    All the best to the New Prep St. Katharine Drexel Preparatory School. I hope to receive my Prep Alumni Today Book by October, 2017 from PCI.
    Respectfully,
    Kirk
    (623) 687-1332

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