As summer’s sizzle dissipates over the coming weeks, the back-to-school throngs may muse on their most recent season away from academia, and some may even have it as their premiere assignment upon recommencement. While I don’t really recall in my younger years a time when this was asked of my fertile student mind, my 42-year-old memory ain’t what she used to be. So color me pseudo-nostalgically amused when my oldest had this very task put to her and she wrote about our family train trip to Chicago. Which I totally dug too. Except, and in honest reflection, my real takeaway for summer 2016? Pecking away, hours over days and largely singlehandedly, at an overwhelmingly under-maintained vacant corner lot in my neighborhood.
By Sandra Stokes, president of the Louisiana Landmarks Society
It has become all too familiar in historic neighborhoods – perfectly proportioned historic homes demolished for totally out-of-scale McMansions; harmonious streetscapes marred by inappropriate new construction; or additions that look like cancerous growths on what was a perfectly fine home.
Louisiana Landmarks Society recognizes the advantages of local historic districts in maintaining scale and character in neighborhoods, while providing stability and predictability. At the same time, we also understand the concerns of residents that being subject to the jurisdiction of the Historic Landmarks District Commission (HDLC) might infringe upon their personal property rights.
Demolition requests for large homes on Nashville Avenue, Broadway Street and Peniston Street were all denied or deferred on Monday by city officials.
The 143-year-old former church at 2517 Jackson Avenue is slated to become a private home with a swimming pool and gardens, following the approval of permission to demolish an old home next door.
The owners of a historic shotgun home on Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard have withdrawn their controversial request to tear down the structure, the New Orleans City Council said on Thursday.
A large former medical center at 2500 Louisiana Avenue is slated to be torn down and rebuilt with a new clinic, city officials said, and, in a separate request, the Veterans of Foreign Wars are planning to tear down and rebuild their meeting hall on Lyons Street.
A large Magazine Street building heavily damaged in a fire earlier this year has been approved for demolition, but neighbors and City Council members say they intend to remain involved in the rebuilding plans against any large, “big box” style developments in its place.
Meanwhile, a separate request to tear down part of a historic home just off the Freret corridor for a driveway split the City Council and failed amid concerns that the character of the streetscape might be altered for the purposes of an investment property.
A city panel rejected a request Monday to demolish a historic shotgun home on Oretha Castle Boulevard hailed as a crucial element of the streetscape of the rapidly redeveloping corridor.
The church pastor who owned an apartment building that dramatically collapsed on Amelia Street is seeking federal money to rebuild more affordable housing on the site, City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell told neighbors on Tuesday evening.
The committee overseeing demolition requests across most of Uptown New Orleans balked at a mortgage company’s recent request to tear down a single-story Carrollton home amid protests from the Preservation Resource Center and confusion over what the bank intends to do with the property.
Most of Uptown New Orleans between South Claiborne Avenue or Earhart Boulevard and the river should receive historic-district protection against demolitions — with much stricter standards on St. Charles and Carrollton avenues, according to a unanimous recommendation Wednesday night by a committee of residents appointed by Mayor Mitch Landrieu.
Possible futures for the vacant Carrollton Courthouse include a school for building trades, a community gathering place or an event venue, according to a series of visions presented by Tulane architecture students on Thursday evening, but time is running short before the Orleans Parish School Board decides to sell the historic building.
The cluster of brick apartment buildings at State and Tchoupitoulas got initial approval for demolition this week to make way for a new condo building, while city officials also considered requests to tear down homes on Jena, Laurel and Coliseum streets.
A request to demolish part of a Laurel Street home to prepare for an addition was rejected by city officials on Monday afternoon, but requests regarding two homes on Toledano and Amelia streets were approved.
Over at Eater New Orleans, Gwendolyn Knapp sums up the ill-fated “Jack & Jake’s” grocery project quite aptly – as a money pit.
The project began in 2011, when Alembic Community Development bought the former Myrtle Banks Elementary School on Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard. The school, built in 1910, had closed in 2002 and was gutted by fire in 2008. The Orleans Parish School Board had already determined that it wasn’t cost-effective to preserve the building, but Alembic was determined to save the façade.
Which Uptown New Orleans neighborhoods’ historic architecture requires legal protection — and how much protection those neighborhoods should receive — received its first round of discussion Wednesday by the committee that could end up proposing changes that become the city’s new law.
The large corner lot that locals knew as the Weber Garden Center for decades and more recently the Freret Garden Center is planned to become two new buildings as the latest major project planned for the corridor, architects on the project told city officials Monday.
A home on General Pershing Street previously slated for demolition to make way for the expansion of St. George’s Episcopal School is instead being moved to Mid-City, where it will be rehabilitated and sold to a teacher.
After more than a dozen speakers took the microphone at a forum dedicated to saving the Carrollton Courthouse on Wednesday night, a common theme emerged from their comments: The best future for the landmark structure is some sort of public use.
Some described a new community center or an expanded library, perhaps to replace the nearby Nix branch. Others mentioned museums about the history of public education, of the city of Carrollton, or even New Orleans music. If not that, then flexible museum space, they said, where the city’s other museums could rotate exhibits. The large space could host city archives or recreation offices, they said, and its grounds would be perfect for park space with the crumbling old temporary buildings removed.
The question looming over the courthouse’s fate — and likely defining it — is who will actually own the building. And to that question, no answers emerged Wednesday night.