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.
The debate between historic preservation and private-property rights flared again Monday as a panel of New Orleans officials considered requests to tear down four more Uptown homes, pitting preservationists against property owners and neighbors against neighborhood associations.
A former rental home on Soniat Street that may have origins dating back nearly to the Civil War is likely to be torn down and replaced with new construction, but a request for a similar project on Annunciation Street split the city panel overseeing demolitions Monday.
An architect’s plan to tear down an Octavia Street house he uses as a rental property and replace it with a home for himself that he described as more in keeping with the neighborhood drew mixed reviews Monday from the city’s demolition panel, who sent it with a split vote to the New Orleans City Council for a final decision.
Children’s Hospital won permission Thursday to tear down six buildings on the former New Orleans Adolescent Hospital campus along Henry Clay Avenue, but has agreed to participate beforehand in a federal process to determine whether their loss can be minimized or mitigated.
A nearly 80-year-old building on St. Charles Avenue that was once a gas station, bagel shop and more recently a fountain store is slated to be torn down and replaced with a new house, less than a year after neighbors successfully protested plans for a condo development there.
The former Carrollton Courthouse awaiting a decision on whether it will be headed to the auction block is included on the Louisiana Landmarks Society’s 2015 list of most endangered historic places in New Orleans, along with a former utility building on Napoleon Avenue and two privately-owned Uptown homes.
One of Aesop’s fables is that of the young crab and his mother.
“Why in the world do you walk sideways like that?” said the mother crab to her son. “You should always walk straight forward with your toes turned out.”
“Show me how to walk, mother dear,” answered the little Crab obediently, “I want to learn.”
Mother crab tried in vain to walk straight forward, but she could walk only sideways, like her son. When she wanted to turn her toes out she tripped and fell on her nose.
The moral of the fable? Don’t tell others how to act unless you can set a good example. And local government could learn something from it.
In 2002 local musical impresarios Benny Grunch and the Bunch released a song entitled “Ain’t Dere No More.” In it the group collectively bemoan, as only the natives may, the loss of landmarks around the New Orleans metro area. It played in my head over these last few days as I watched yet more apparently salvageable dwellings, in this case double shotguns, meet their untimely demise in the 2400 block of Cadiz. What was more upsetting to me was that their demolition was supposedly not going to happen, and the structures were to be saved by their new owner Arnold Kirschman. Even be occupied by him. Except guess what? They gone.