A New Life for the Last Remaining Structure of Straight University in New Orleans

In 1869, the American Missionary Association founded Straight University in New Orleans to provide higher education for the freedmen of the city. The university was named after Seymour Straight, the association largest benefactor.

In 1871, the university bought a home at 1423 North Claiborne Avenue that was used as a boarding house and later a dining hall. It was later sold. In 1930 Straight University merged with New Orleans University to establish Dillard University, which continues to operate in the city.

In 2009, the Preservation Resource Center in New Orleans bought the structure. Rachel Cockrill of the Preservation Resource Center told The Advocate, a Baton Rouge newspaper, that “we didn’t learn until we began researching the history of the house that it was the last building still standing that had been part of Straight University, or even how important Straight was in educating African-Americans after the Civil War.”

After extensive renovations, the 3,400-square-foot structure has been converted into a residence, housing three condominiums. A plaque was installed by the National Register of Historic Places recognizing the building as part of Straight University.

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