|Sophie B. Wright 1930s|
Sophie B. Wright was born in 1866 and even at a young age, was dedicated to philanthropy and education. She opened a school for girls in her own home, quickly followed by a free night school for men and boys who had to work during the day. By 1912, she became the first woman and the first living New Orleans resident to have a school named after her...the Sophie B. Wright High School, which was the first public high school for girls in the city. Eventually, the school would become a middle school.
During Hurricane Katrina, the Sophie B. Wright Middle School was evacuated of students and educational staff, but it served as a staging area and living quarters for National Guard personnel who were called in to assist in the clean up and rescue. The men and women of the Guard soon realized that the horrors weren't just limited to what they would find outside the school walls.
Sgt. Robin Hairston is reported as having seen the apparition of a little girl standing in a doorway. Spc. Rosales Leanor saw a shadow in the size and shape of a young girl while in the ladies' restroom. Another un-named member of the guard opened a closet containing cleaning supplies and was shocked to both see the little girl AND hear her giggling.
The amount of activity in the middle school prompted a chaplain to perform a mini-exorcism of sorts. "In the name of Jesus Christ, I command you Satan to leave the dark areas of this building," were the words that rang throughout the halls.
Today, the middle school, which was once one of the worst performing in the district, is now a charter school serving middle and high school grades. And while its academic standing has drastically improved, there is no word as to whether or not the little ghost girl is still making an appearance in the halls of Sophie B. Wright. Did the impromptu exorcism actually work...or was the whole thing a figment of the imaginations of overworked military personnel dealing with horrors of their work?
History of the Sophie B. Wright School by Old New Orleans
Article by Janet Yee (CBS5) via Southern Ghosts