Archbishop John W. Shaw, whose leadership of the Archdiocese New Orleans ran from 1918-1934, had a special interest in the Catholic community of the Westbank. During this time many churches and schools were founded. Also in that time, Hope Haven Institute, an orphanage and foster home for boys was founded and the Salesians of St. John Bosco were asked to staff it. The mission of the Salesians is to serve the poor and the young through the Preventive System of St. John Bosco in light of the Gospel and Jesus Christ. In 1962, Archbishop Joseph Rummel of New Orleans dedicated a new high school on the West Bank and named it in honor of Archbishop Shaw. The school was built on the same 72-acre plot of land that was used by Hope Haven.
The Reverend Paul Avallone, SDB was the school’s founding principal. Originally, only a small complex was built to meet the needs of the developing West Bank. Every year the school continued to grow in both admissions and infrastructure. Shaw has always provided an environment that is conducive to the student’s spiritual, intellectual, physical, social, emotional, and moral growth.
Archbishop Shaw High School has grown in the past 50 years to contain 4 academic buildings, 4 sport facilities (football, soccer, baseball, and wrestling), as well as a swimming pool. The main building was renovated during the 2015-16 school year, complete with new floors, ceilings, lighting, central AC, and a redesigned library. Further additions are planned for the school, such as a new football field to replace the current practice field, as well as a full-sized chapel. Technology has been brought in to help with the learning environment, such as Smart Boards in classrooms and Google Chromebooks for student use.