St. George’s Episcopal School was founded in 1969: the dream and vision of the clergy, the vestry and the members of St. George’s Episcopal Church. The school began with nineteen students, and classes were held in the church’s undercroft. Starting with only preschool, grades were added with each successive year. As the school grew, it moved from the church, first to a mansion on Napoleon Avenue and then to Salem United Church of Christ at Camp and Milan Streets.
Then in 1977, the school purchased the building at 923 Napoleon Avenue designed in 1876 by William S. Freret as McDonough #6 School. Originally, tall Gothic spires projected above the roof-line at the building’s four corners, but a hurricane at the turn of the century swept them away. Hurricane Camille in 1969 again damaged the building, and Orleans Parish Schools no longer occupied it. The school has maintained the architectural integrity of the building through several phases of renovation and has been recognized as a New Orleans Landmark. The main brick building is named for Douglas Koy Porteous whose outstanding generosity made its purchase, and that of the large frame building behind it, possible.
Over the years, St. George’s reputation for excellence grew. In 1985, St. George’s became a member of the Independent Schools Association of the Southwest, joining independent schools in Louisiana, Texas and Oklahoma. It joined the National Association of Independent Schools the following year. In 1991, the school’s mathematics curriculum received national recognition when it was featured on the front cover of Instructor Magazine highlighting the lead article.
In 1989, the school doubled the amount of its interior space with the purchase of the Old Jefferson Market, erected in 1912. When the renovation was completed in March 1990, the school had gained a gymnasium, art and music studios, a multi-purpose room known as the Forum, a kitchen, a science laboratory and a computer lab. Much of this was made possible by donation grants in recognition of the contribution St. George’s had made to the educational community in New Orleans.
In 1993, the school purchased another historic building, the old Jefferson City Jail (c.1863) and Recorder’s Court. This building was renovated into a pre-kindergarten and Extended Day Care facility.
During the 1993-1994 school year, a state-of-the-art computer system was installed throughout the campus with the help of a major grant from a local foundation. This system allowed the computer and appropriate software to be integrated across the curriculum. Faculty and students now have the use of hundreds of computers that access the local network and worldwide web anywhere on campus.
In March 1996, the school began the renovation of the former Knights of Columbus Building at the corner of Camp and General Pershing Streets into its Early Childhood Center. This new facility contains kindergarten classrooms, administrative and Resource Services offices, as well as a large common area for indoor play, physical education and eating. The two adjacent properties to the east, fronting on Camp Street, were also purchased in order to clear a large area for a playground. The second floor of the Early Childhood Center contains classrooms for a Lower School science lab, the Talented and Gifted (TAG) Center, the photography lab and Resource Services.
In 1999, the Mims Laudeman Library was completely renovated to serve the whole student body with over 10,000 volumes, complete internet access, an oversized Smart Board screen and dozens of laptop computers.
In the spring of 2003, St. George’s acquired the Temple Sinai Preschool Program. This program now services children 1 through 3 years of age on the St. George's campus under the name "St. George's Preschool."
In the fall of 2004, the school opened the Salem facility that provides additional classrooms and a state-of-the-art theater. First and second grade classrooms, part of the St. George's Preschool, reading rooms and resource classrooms are all housed in the Salem facility.
Since Hurricane Katrina, St. George's has experienced an increased need for early childhood services. In keeping with a longstanding goal set by the Board of Trustees, St. George's has expanded its Early Childhood Program with the further expansion of the Michael R. Boh Early Childhood Complex, most notably the new preschool facility, which opened in the year 2009. In 2013, St. George's purchased the home of our dear neighbor Ms. Joyce, located at 921/923 General Pershing Street. With this property, St. George's will complete the expansion of its Early Childhood Program.