Renaming Lusher High School to Elijah Brimmer Jr. Academic and Performance Institute

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Fellow New Orleanians, 

In regards to the probable renaming of the Robert Mills Lusher Charter High School at the Alcee Fortier Campus that's currently located at 5624 Freret Street: we, members of the Alcee Fortier Senior High School alumni would like to make a suggestion. As we are well aware that Alcee Fortier name will not be reinstated and Robert Mills Lusher is becoming obsolete, we would like for you to give attention and thought to renaming the campus "Elijah Brimmer Jr. Academic and Performance Institute." What better way to contribute to healing our city than by acknowledging an African American New Orleans Public School teacher who successfully matriculated and graduated from the Orleans Parish Public School System, a man who dedicated himself to this same Orleans Parish Public School System by educating, mentoring, and even investing mentally, spiritually, and financially in the students that he came across?

Mr. Brimmer is an iconic figure in Fortier's history. While there were many others that can be mentioned as iconic, Mr. Brimmer's name and legacy is extraordinary amongst any name mentioned. He was amongst the 2nd wave of Black teachers to integrate Fortier. His character as a human being, humanitarian, a leader in the school's infrastructure, a team player as a staff member and a pillar in the Fortier community, his own neighborhood, and family are all great reasons to do so.

Mr. Brimmer fought many uphill battles with the school board, and residents in the Tulane community to keep Fortier open to Black students from the day he was hired in 1978 to August 29th, the day Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005. He fought to change the systemic racism in the Mardi Gras parades when other Black directors, school board members, and elected officials all said or did nothing to change those racist conditions that all black bands faced. The only other person that stood up to them and stood up for Brimmer was Mr. Edwin Hampton who was also a great leader and legend, but he was the director of St. Augustine which is a catholic school.

Mr. Brimmer was an organizer for poor people that attended a public school, a place where students and staff both were treated and labeled as less than and inferior. Mr. Brimmer was more than a band teacher. He was a Black man who was loved and respected by all. When it comes to public school teachers, Mr. Elijah Brimmer was one of a kind. Mr. Brimmer's respect was just as equal to that of the principal Mr. John Smith and the Assistant Principal Mr. Dewey Lewis.

A significant point to remember about Mr. Brimmer is when other teachers and faculty decided to retire or pursued better opportunities, Brimmer stayed. He never left. In fact, he was one of the last teachers that came to Fortier during the 70's to leave. HE WAS THE LAST TO LEAVE. He should've had the right to retire from Fortier with the rest of the faculty and staff that helped to make Fortier what it was to so many.

His legacy expands beyond the classroom. It’s been left in the bright futures of today's history makers, such as Derek Moss founder of Soul Rebel Brass Band, Bennie Pete Founder of Hot Brass Band, The Little Rascals Brass Band, and Ronald "Slim" Williams Founder and CEO of the multi-million dollar Platinum Record Company Cash Money Records, to name a few.

In closing, we wish to reiterate: what better way to start to heal our great city that's being blemished by racism, than to honor a local African-American educator who has left a legacy that still speaks in his absence? One that gives voice to and proudly proclaims unity and equity in education through his expertise as a teacher and musician?

It is said that music is a universal language. We say it is also a legacy that speaks for Mr. Elijah Brimmer Jr.

The honor: Rename Robert Mills Lusher at the Fortier Campus to Elijah Brimmer Jr. Academic and Performance Institute, where education for everyone is our legacy.