Blakeview: Sam Barthe School for Boys_lowres

The old McFadden mansion at New Orleans City Park, now home to Christian Brothers School, was the Sam Barthe School for Boys from 1947 to 1958.

As students head back to school this month, we remember a small private school that educated young men in the city from the 1940s through the 1970s. Sam Barthe School for Boys opened in 1941 at 3620 Gen. Pershing St. In 1947, the school moved to the old McFadden mansion in City Park (now home to Christian Brothers School). Owner Sam Barthe Jr., a former athlete and coach, attended Tulane University on a track scholarship. He and his wife Mildred, who was known to all as "Mama," ran an operation that was strong on discipline (often doled out by Barthe's paddle) and with athletics as a focus. "First it was a boys' camp, a boys' club, then a kindergarten, a grade school, a junior high and then, in August 1964, a high school," Sam Barthe explained in a 1979 article in The Times-Picayune. Just four years after the high school opened, Barthe's football team (the Hornets) made it to the state football playoffs. Teams in other sports at the Barthe School won several district and state championship titles. In 1958, Barthe moved his school to Haring Road in Metairie, where he could build larger facilities for the school, which by then had 700 students. In 1979, Barthe sold his school to another family-run institution, Ecole Classique. Barthe died in 1998. Some of his notable alumni are businessmen John Georges and Fred Heebe, journalist Errol Laborde, artist George Schmidt and meteorologist Bruce Katz.