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New Orleans Trivia

Blakeview: UNO's first-ever student

The university's first student signed up for classes on April 1, 1958

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Blake prides himself on knowing New Orleans trivia, so here's one for you: Who was the first student to register for classes at the University of New Orleans? James Robert Axtell signed up for the fall semester at what then was Louisiana State University in New Orleans (LSUNO) on April 1, 1958 — 60 years ago next week. "He was registered in a second-floor office of the old administration building of the Naval Air Station on the lakefront. This is now officially LSUNO," reported The New Orleans Item in a front-page story written by future WWL-TV news legend Phil Johnson, then an Item reporter. Axtell's registration was accepted by registrar Wallace Burleson, who said the Warren Easton High School student was the first of 750 scholars expected to enroll at LSUNO for its first semester. By the time classes began on Sept. 12, 1958, more than 1,460 students — double the number anticipated — had enrolled at LSUNO, the first racially integrated public university in the South. The cost for full-time students was $15 per semester.

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