St. Augustine High School History
St. Augustine High School was constructed by the Archdiocese of New Orleans with funds solicited from Catholics of the Archdiocese through the Youth Progress Program. The building and the site on which it stands were purchased by the Society of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart (The Josephite Fathers and Brothers), to whom the operation of the school was entrusted in 1951.
The Archdiocese of New Orleans had placed the school under the patronage of St. Augustine of Hippo, a preeminent Christian and scholar of Africa and a Father of the Church. This was appropriate since the school was originally designated for the education of young men from Black Catholic families of New Orleans. Although St. Augustine now welcomes students of any national or ethnic background, it has remained the leading secondary school for Black males in Louisiana and is nationally recognized in educational circles for outstanding success in preparing its students for higher education.
In 1971, St. Augustine underwent physical expansion with the addition of a wing to accommodate new science laboratories, a gymnasium and athletic complex, and a music complex.
St. Augustine has maintained throughout its history a tradition of strong discipline and a program of studies which challenges each student to achieve his fullest individual potential. St. Augustine has used homogenous grouping of students for this purpose from the beginning, although this was considered radically innovative in 1951. Each ability group pursues a fixed program of studies which is designed to demand from each student in the group the maximum academic performance. St. Augustine retains this approach to educational programming, consistently with its philosophy to “direct the development of each individual to the fulness of his own unique capacity.”
The Josephite Fathers and Brothers re an American Society of priests and brothers whose ministry is to bring the Gospel to all, and to work for the full incorporation of the black people into the Church and into human society.
The Josephites (officially known as the Society of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart) were founded in 1893 by a group of priests who had been members of the English Foreign Mission society of St. Joseph, a Society which had begun work in America in the Black Apostolate after the Civil War.
The Josephites now number 148 priests and 12 brothers, whose chief work remains in the parish ministry. The society administers 68 parishes and 7 mission churches, scattered from Delaware and westward to California. The Josephites care for the spiritual needs of 100,000 of the approximately 2,000,000 Black Catholics in America.
St. Augustine High School was dedicated on August 26, 1951, the first formal educational venture of the Josephite Society other than its own Seminary colleges. At present, ten priests and two brothers serve in administrative or instructional roles at St. Augustine.
The Josephite Society has subsidized the operation of St. Augustine High School in an amount exceeding one million dollars. This amount represents the monies contributed by the Josephites to make up the difference between tuition income and actual operating costs. The figure mentioned does not take into the hundreds of thousands of dollars contributed services (salaries not taken) by the priests and brothers who have worked at St. Augustine through the years. All furnishing, equipment, and supplies have been provided by the Josephite Society. The Josephites are proud that St. Augustine numbers four priests, (three of them Josephites) and two religious brothers (both Josephites) among its graduates.