Enhanced Capital is pleased to announce its investment in the adaptive reuse of the McDonogh 19 Elementary School campus came in third place in the “Small Ticket Financing of the Year ($25M or less)” category in Real Estate Capital USA’s 2021 awards.

The investment directly supports the Tate, Etienne & Prevost Center’s (TEP Center) mission to combat structural racism through educational programming, anti-racism workshops, and the provision of affordable housing.

In 2021, Enhanced Capital provided financing through an allocation of Louisiana New Markets Tax Credits to the McDonogh 19 Elementary School. That investment leveraged Enhanced Capital’s 2020 project financing of Louisiana and federal Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits and a federal New Markets Tax Credit allocation. The Firm’s investments supported the historic rehabilitation of the former McDonogh 19 school and cafeteria buildings, which have now been repurposed as the TEP Center, located at 5909 St. Claude Avenue in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward.

The development, completed in December 2021, is co-owned and was co-developed, by the Leona Tate Foundation for Change (LTFC) and Alembic Community Development. The project is named after Leona Tate, Gail Etienne, and Tessie Prevost, who, at the age of six on November 14, 1960, were the first African Americans to attend the previously all-white McDonogh 19 Elementary School. The three young girls attended class alone—and under the protection of United States Marshals—in an otherwise empty building for a year and a half while their white peers and neighbors fled McDonogh 19 for parochial and private schools elsewhere. Despite this seminal history and being entered into the National Register of Historic Places in 2016, the building remained vacant and deteriorating for 16 years following its closure in 2004 and the subsequent devastation of the Lower 9th Ward by the Katrina levee failures.

The TEP Center includes an interpretive center operated by LTFC on the history of school desegregation and its role in the Civil Rights Movement in New Orleans, an anti-racism training space operated by the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond, and 25 affordable apartments for seniors. The interpretive center will provide a unique visitor experience that allows students, community members, cultural tourists, and others to learn about and experience some of what it was like to walk in the shoes of Leona, Gail, and Tessie.

Enhanced Capital is honored to contribute financing to the TEP Center and help build stronger, equitable communities nationwide.