Robert R. Moton Elementary School

Stop 6 of 7 on the Gordon Plaza tour.

This building, now boarded up and abandoned, once served as the elementary school for residents of Gordon Plaza and Desire neighborhoods. Opened in 1987, Robert R. Moton Elementary School was built on the former site of the Agriculture Street Landfill.

According to students of Moton Elementary, the Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB) was aware that the site was polluted with toxins. Prior to the school's construction, developers replaced the first five feet of existing topsoil with fresh soil.

In 1993, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) tested soil in Gordon Plaza and declared both the residential area and Moton Elementary a Superfund site. The EPA attempted to remediate residential land adjacent to Moton Elementary by replacing several feet of topsoil. However, the school's topsoil was not replaced because the OPSB had removed soil during its initial construction. OPSB closed Moton Elementary in 1994 and a Catholic School operated out of the building for the next seven years. The EPA removed Moton from the Superfund list in 2000 and the district reopened the site.

After the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina, Moton Elementary closed.

In 2015, a bill banning the construction of schools on former dump sites failed to gain support in the Louisiana state legislature.

In 2018, courts ordered the OPSB to pay restitution to former students of Moton Elementary due to the city and the school board’s previous knowledge of toxic contamination in the area. The suit awarded $1,000 per student for every year they attended Moton Elementary.

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