Ouachita Female Academy 1840 – 1900

Ouachita Female Academy

What you are looking at is one of the ancestors of Monroe/Ouachita Parish schools.  It was known as the Ouachita Female Academy.  It sat where Anna Grey Noe Park is, facing the block that now houses St. Francis Hospital.  Behind it was the Catholic Church (St. Matthew), The Catholic Friends building and St. Hyacinth Catholic School, which was the ancestor of St. Matthew and St. Frederick schools.  Some say it was built in 1849, others in 1840.  The earliest article I could find about it, came from 1846:

The Times-Picayune (New Orleans, LA) September 1, 1846, Page 2

               Prizes Awarded. – At an examination held on the 10th and 11th ult., at the Ouachita Female Academy, Monroe, La., medals were awarded as follows:

The gold medal to Miss Caroline Morrison; a silver medal to Miss Ann Atkins; a silver medal to Miss Harriet McDonald; a silver medal, for French, to Miss Louisa White; a silver medal, for music, to Miss Thankful Willson.

The next session of this institution will commence on the 21st inst.

As an interesting side note, Thankful Willson, a daughter of Judge E.K. Willson, would become the mother of one of Ouachita Parish’s greatest educators, Lida St. Clair Benton!

In 1898 or so, the building was turned over to the city for a public school.  The city eventually gave St. Matthew Catholic Church a lot on Jackson Street and in return, they gave their half of the lot and building over to the city.  In 1901, after the City High School was built on most of the lot, the old Female Academy was torn down.

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