COHN SCHOOL HISTORY
Before Cohn High School’s founding, only 67 percent of the parish’s African-American students were enrolled in high school. Afterward, that number increased to 99 percent.
In 1949, an old U.S. Army hangar was moved from Harding Army Air Field — now Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport — to land donated by the Cohn family to house the parish’s first African-American high school. Black students were able to attend elementary school in West Baton Rouge, but had to go to other parishes, such as McKinley High School in East Baton Rouge, for high school.
The old hanger was divided into classrooms. New buildings were later constructed, and the hangar became the school gym.
Court-ordered desegregation closed the school in 1969, and Cohn’s students were integrated into the all-white population at Port Allen High School. Cohn Elementary School still occupies the space, and though DOC DHL was able to get National Register status for the old high school buildings, they were beyond repair. Despite the efforts of the Alumni Association, the school was demolished in 2014 due to its condition.
The West Baton Rouge Museum commemorated the school with a special exhibit from February – March 2016. The exhibition received an Award of Merit on September 16, 2016.
COHN HIGH SCHOOL VIDEO
West Baton Rouge Museum: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oOBjHa033t8
National Register of Historic Places database