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The historic Union Bethel AME Church in New Orleans survived Hurricane Katrina, but its school building suffered major damage and was demolished. The old school was named Four Freedoms Education Building following President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1941 State of the Union Address where he proposed four fundamental freedoms that people “everywhere in the world” ought to enjoy:  Freedom of Speech, of Religion, from Want, and from Fear.


The old school was on the National Registered, thus the new building had to meet National Park Service, State and Local historic design standards, as well as FEMA design and funding requirements. Koch and Wilson designed the new building around the side and back of the historic church, with an arcade connecting the schools entrance portico to the existing Fellowship Entrance to the church. The new building carries design cues from the church while maintaining its own reserved identity thus creating a harmonious relationship without challenging the scale and ornament of the church.

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