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How One New Orleans Neighborhood Worked To Reopen Its School — And Lost

After Hurricane Katrina, New Orleanians had to rebuild. There were neighborhoods to reknit. There were schools to reinvent and, it was hoped, to be lifted from failure.

In Hollygrove, the two efforts aligned. Here in a small and depressed quadrant bound by highways, fences and overflowing drainage canals, neighbors worked with the state Recovery School District for four years to restore the Paul L. Dunbar Elementary campus, and to install the charter school, Lafayette Academy, that Hollygrove wanted. The superintendent even signed off on the agreement, demonstrating that Recovery system officials could listen to a community and make a promise.

Four years later, neighbors say, they took it back. They decided to install a KIPP school in the Dunbar campus, and Hollygrove is aghast.