The Warren Easton Publication Classes
proudly present the
Heritage of our Newspapers and Yearbooks
Special thanks to Easton historian Carroll Pl Trosclair, Class of 1947;
Juliette Hare O’Connor, Class of 1964; and research expert extraordinaire, Jerry Frey.
WARREN EASTON PUBLICATIONS HISTORY
By Arthur Hardy, Class of 1965
Our Warren Easton Archives contain 72 yearbooks and more than 200 original issues of the Old Gold and Purple, the earliest from 1908. Most of this collection, while nowhere near complete, was assembled during the past 25 years from donations solicited from alumni and purchases at auctions, bookstores, garage sales and on eBay.
Soon all of our yearbooks and newspapers will be available online—nearly 10,000 pages chronicling more than a century of the school’s history.
Since opening at 3019 Canal Street in 1913, Warren Easton yearbooks have been published 73 times. Sadly, there were 34 years in which yearbooks were not produced. In those times, however, the Old Gold and Purple newspaper/magazine provided news about the school. Many issues contained more than 50 pages, including photos and dozens of ads from local merchants.
The first Warren Easton yearbook appeared in 1921 and was called The Record. The New Orleans Public Library’s main branch has the only known copy. After a six-year break, the next yearbook was published—the 1927 Eastonite. From 1928-1933 yearbooks were published under the name The Eagle. No books were produced from 1934-1952. Then, from 1953-2020, Eagle yearbooks were published annually except in 1978, 1980, and 2006.
WHEN DID THE OLD GOLD & PURPLE BEGIN?
The Old Gold & Purple (OG&P) was published at our predecessor school, Boys High at 1532 Calliope Street between St. Charles Avenue and Prytania Street. (The school’s colors had been selected in 1896.) The numbering system of the early Boys High editions implies conflicting dates as to when the publication started. Although designed to be a monthly, apparently different years featured a different number of issues in each volume. The 1908 May edition is called the “Eighth Annual.” Yet two years later the 1910 issues are part of Volume 13. The 1915 issues are from Volume 19. After the December 1936 issue, the masthead bore no designation as to volume or issue number.
According to a history of the publication printed in the May, 1908 issue of the OG&P, “…at Boys High School in 1889 a bi-weekly journal called the High School Gazette debuted.” The Times-Picayune posted a favorable review of the “initial number of the second volume” in October 1889.
The May 1908 OG&P also reported “in the later part of the 1897-1898 school session, a monthly journal was issued. The next year (1899), six issues of the Old Gold and Purple were published,”
No records have yet been found of any related publications from October 1889 until 1897.
The official history of Warren Easton published in 2016 by Carroll P. Trosclair (Class of 1947), states, “The first issue of the Old Gold & Purple, was published, apparently, in early 1897…(and) it is believed to be the oldest school publication in the South.”
The 1907 Angelos annual (see below) praised the OG&P, “now in its twelfth year,” which would place the birth of the school newspaper in 1896.
Last month, after an exhaustive search of newspaper databases that have recently become available online, a 122-year-old newspaper article was found that proves the founding year of the Old Gold & Purple was actually1898.
In the May 14, 1898 edition of The Times-Picayune under the headline NEW HIGH SCHOOL JOURNAL we learn, “The Old Gold and Purple is the name of the first volume, No. 1. of a journal published by the senior class of the Boys’ High School. The journal is in capable hands, the articles are well written.”
By 1901 the OG&P had expanded to provide full coverage of the two New Orleans girls high schools: Sophie B. Wright on Napoleon Avenue and Girls High on Esplanade Avenue. This continued for 14 years.
In 1903 a Times-Picayune news article announced the OG&P as the “official organ of the high schools.” Curiously, starting in 1907, a similar monthly publication called The Angelos provided coverage of the same three high schools, with Boys High prominently contributing.
In March of 1903 the Boys High School Weekly was started by students in competition with the OG&P.
In the late Teens the OG&P bore the sub-head, “The Students’ Voice.”
In 1925, the English Department of the Easton Night School, where more than 4,500 students would earn WE diplomas, started publishing the Night Howl. In addition to news about our Easton, it contained reports from the 14 other public night schools in New Orleans. The Times-Picayune described it as “the first night school paper in the country.”
The OG&P was a member of the New Orleans School Press Association and won the coveted Pi Cup in 1931 and also the Isaac Heller Magazine Award that year.
In the mid-Forties while the OG&P was flourishing, an Easton newspaper called the Eagles Nest was also produced by the Civics Department. One of the editors, Carroll P. Trosclair, would return 70 years later to write a 275-page book about the school’s history, Warren Easton High School’s Amazing 172 years.
It is interesting to note that when Warren Easton Boys High became co-ed in 1952, the September issue of the OG&P was numbered Volume 1, Number 1, as a new era began.