BTW was founded in 1042 and is the oldest high school for African-Americans in the City of New Orleans. It has been recognized as an historic landmark within the City and its auditorium is listed as a National Historic Building . The original focus was vocational training and college prep focused on the Africian-American community. The entire building complex, and most of all its Auditorium was used for cultural and socail events in the African-American community. Many of today's leaders have graduated from BTW. The purpose of the partnership is to bring back the pride and many successes that BTW has enjoyed over the past decades. The current state of the surrounding cmmunity is dominated by public housing, abandoned lots, and abandoned housing. There is a very high unemployment rate and is in a critical georgraphical location between Central Business District and Mid-City areas of New Orleans. There is some mixture of light industry, small businesses and minority businesses is underrepresented. BTW is a definite focal point of the community.
The facility is in need of modernization of the physical plant, and an expansion needs to occur to accommodate student curricula demand for its over 19 vocational programs. The environment is conducive to small business establishment, community computer training and learning center as well as job training and job connection center for current and graduating students. Two vacant lots across the street will provide access to the construction of a new modern building which would house the vocational programs. This would allow the demolation of the current and almost obsolete buildings and provide more green space on the school campus for students enjoyment. Lastly, the preservation of an historic facility would be assured.
The vision is to create a state-fo-the-art academic, vocational training, job connection, computer, continuing education, cultural arts center for use by both the student body and surrounding community residents. Partnerships are envisioning a campus that will serve as a catalyst to revitalization of housing and small businesses and to continue to preserve the significance of BTW as a cultural focus of New Orleans.