The Alvar Street Branch of the New Orleans Public Library opened on November 7, 1940 following a formal dedication ceremony on November 6. Completion of the branch ended a long struggle by neighborhood groups and public officials to secure library facilities for the eastern section of the city. The building was designed by city architect Maurice B. Depass and a Works Progress Administration allocation of $20,523 financed construction of the building.
Under the supervision of librarian Shirley K. Stephenson, the branch was an immediate success, with more books loaned for home use in its first full month of operation than any other branch except for Napoleon.
The structure stands on the site of the old Guillot Market, once a central location in the Ninth Ward. Only seven years after the library opened, the New Orleans city government traded Macarty Square to the School Board for a piece of property on Perdido Street. City Hall was built on the Perdido Street site and Francis T. Nicholls High School (now Frederick Douglass High School) was built on the Macarty Square site. The Alvar Street Library now faces the athletic field behind the school’s gymnasium.
Jim Sohr Paintings Exhibit at Alvar Library in conjunction with installation of ZOR BIRD at Children’s Resource Center on Napoleon Ave. ZOR BIRD was executed by a grant from Arts Council of New Orleans/Joan Mitchell Foundation.
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