'Inside New Orleans High': One of the Most Dangerous High Schools in the Country


Students at Walter L. Cohen High School
 Courtesy of National Geographic Channel

For many, high school brings football games, school dances, award ceremonies and senior pranks. But for the students at Walter L. Cohen High School in New Orleans, reality -- drugs, murder, gangs and guns -- is much grittier.


Premiering Sunday, October 26, 2008, at 10 p.m. ET/PT [on Nat Geo], Inside New Orleans High grants viewers unique access into of one of the most dangerous high schools in the country. Here, more money is spent on security than books, and violent gangs dominate the school. NGC follows three students and one first-year teacher as they reveal their unvarnished accounts of life at Cohen. During the six months producers are filming, at least four Cohen students will fall victim to gun violence -- at least one of them shot by a fellow student.


Among those followed are a popular young man hoping to beat the odds and earn a college scholarship, a young mother struggling to graduate after two years away from the classroom, an 11th-grade gangster whose studies take little precedence over life in the hood and a new teacher hoping to empower students to graduate, or in some cases, simply survive. From violent parties to deadly gang rivalries to threats against teachers -- personal video diaries and intimate interviews offer a rare glimpse into high school life in the murder capital of America.


Years after Katrina, New Orleans is still in recovery mode -- rebuilding is ongoing, homicides are skyrocketing and poverty is overwhelming. The majority of students at Cohen are Katrina refugees, bused from other areas because no other schools could take them. And, as in many American teenagers' lives, school is only part of the story. With inner-city unemployment and infant mortality rates higher than those of some developing countries, in many households, drug and alcohol abuse are the norm. At a time when most students are excited about their future, anticipating graduation and enjoying time with friends and family, the students at Cohen have much more on their minds. "


Press release courtesy of the National Geographic Channel

20 Comments

This sounds fascinating. Great idea for a show and, since it's National Geographic, hopefully it will be handled with care and not be something like The Hills, New Orleans style.

Thanks for posting. I'm looking forward to it.

Could be scary, but I'll be watching.

I agree. I'm genuinely looking forward to this one. Especially glad it lands on a Sunday which is normally a fairly slow day for my tivo. ;)

IMO, scary is good. Some times we need a wake up call like this.

I Luv Mi Skool We Aint Dat Bad!!!!

i watched the show and it was really sad. i am praying that tysongi goes back to school because she needs to teach her child the right way. i am very proud of cardwell because he seems to be a positive role model who wants something out of life. God bless

Great show but the blond teacher talks in juvenile "up talk"????

that was a disgrace to the city of new orleans in itself...that may be the case at this particular high school but the way this documentary made the city out to be was that we are all poor and lazy. being from new orleans and living here my whole life, there is a beautiful side to the city. this high school is nothing but a school that is overlooked and needs to be shut down to save these childrens lives and place them in a school that cares!

I live near Cohen, and I've seen both the good and the bad. Charles and his crew are pretty damned scary people.

yah day talk bout our school its bad they dnt no wat goes on in people life cohen been arond teh longest and i dnt belive cohen all we need is a lil guidness.....dats all and cortne siad dat

its in da heart of da hood. wat u exspect.

These people live life lower than most multi-celled animals. I can't feel the least bit sorrow for trash like this. Their goal in life is to be a gangsta rapper or a pro-baller... but all they will ever be are drug dealing scum. Learning to read/speak normally, or learning a trade that pays a good living for a honest days work is shameful for these pieces of trash. Whatever they do, I hope the stay in The Big Easy, and leave the rest of the country to live like decent humans.

To Richard,

These young people often times do not have positive role models in their lives to show them a different way. Many of them see NOTHING but negativity in their daily lives. Do you know what its like to grow up with a lack of family support? constant Violence? Can you relate to having a failing school system, no guidance, no sense of hope? Before you judge these young people, and call them trash how about you get off your ass and do something to make a difference. I am from New Orleans and I am doing great things with my life, only because I hade WONDERFUL role models. Why don't you be a role model for one of these youths. You calling them trash really just tells me that you are looking at yourself.

ya know...i have a heart for any student who took the time to respond to this, especially those who didnt. i grad from cohen and im attending college. i dont have to capitalize my "i" b/c im speaking a language that my reader understands. if you don't understand the msg it is not for you. when you fail to see the God in everything or ur more focused on how incorrect others are, ur too busy looking at yourself! but that's William Blake saying. this "richard smooth" is the worst kind of human. one cannot expect him to understand the challanges of what's faced by these kids. Chelsi you were without a doubt correct but he will never understand because he made the choice not to. this allows him place himself in a higher social status. this is the scum of scum, lower than the wad of cells used to create him.

you dont see what i see when i look into the eyes of these students. i see brave warriors who inspite of never seeing their parents, or those who have been sexually abused or those who only see alcoholism and drug addictions, a baby at home and one on the way, STILL SHOW UP!!! You don't know their struggle! leave your comfort zone and at least show up, like they do!

LISTEN RICHARD, HOW DARE YOU EVEN SAY THIS ABOUT ANY HUMAN BEING YOU HAVE KNOW IDEA WHAT THESE CHILDREN HAVE WENT THROUGHT . IF ONLY YOU COULD WALK IN THEIR SHOES YOU WOULD UNDERSTAND ..WELL I AHEBAND TO LET YOUR KNOW I CAME FROM LOW INCOME HOUSING PROJECT TO A SUCESSFUL ATTORNEY SO WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THAT ! THATS WHY OBAMA WON THE ELECTION IM PROUD OF HIM ...THAT SHOES YOU RED NECK SO CALLLED AMERICANS A THING OR TOO GET OVER IT BECAUSE OBAMA "S NOT GOING ANYWHERE HA HA HA HA ..African Americans run this shit now !..

wow you people think this school is ghetto. i'd like to see you guys last one day without having problems in Jordan high school in Los Angeles

This lookes crap

The documentary shows how the undeclass black people live in CHicago too. You are poor, black and ignoranbt - what else do you expect?

This is Tysongi Love And i am doing great am in skool 2 become a pharmacist!! and my daughter attend skool for gifted!!!! God as truly watch over me ma whole life!!! No one kno wat i hav ben thru!!! But guess wat no matter wat ma head is held very high and i hav a big smile on ma face!!! I tysongi is going for all my goal and i will accomplished all of them!!!!!!

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