Jul 292015
 
The old Carrollton courthouse, photographed during an Audubon Charter School event in 2012. (UptownMessenger.com file)

The old Carrollton courthouse, photographed during an Audubon Charter School event in 2012. (UptownMessenger.com file)

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. Continue reading »

Jul 292015
 

Sandra Stokes of the Louisiana Landmarks Society speaks in front of the Carrollton Courthouse on Wednesday, June 24. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Sandra Stokes of the Louisiana Landmarks Society speaks in front of the Carrollton Courthouse on Wednesday, June 24. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Following the recent designation of the Carrollton Courthouse on a national list of endangered historic buildings, local preservationists will host a forum tonight to solicit ideas about what the landmark could become. Continue reading »

Jul 212015
 
The houses at (top row) 1600 Carondelet and 1032 Upperline, and (bottom row) 1020 Upperline and 5922 Patton were all discussed by the Neighborhood Conservation District Advisory Committee on Monday. (graphic by UptownMessenger.com; images via City of New Orleans.)

The houses at (top row) 1600 Carondelet and 1032 Upperline, and (bottom row) 1020 Upperline and 5922 Patton were all discussed by the Neighborhood Conservation District Advisory Committee on Monday. (graphic by UptownMessenger.com; images via City of New Orleans.)

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. Continue reading »

Jul 072015
 
The house at 918 Soniat was approved for demolition Monday. (April 2015 photo via Google)

The house at 918 Soniat was approved for demolition Monday. (April 2015 photo via Google)

Renderings by MetroStudio architects for a new home at 918 Soniat. (via City of New Orleans)

Renderings by MetroStudio architects for a new home at 918 Soniat. (via City of New Orleans)

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. Continue reading »

Jun 242015
 

Sandra Stokes of the Louisiana Landmarks Society speaks in front of the Carrollton Courthouse on Wednesday, June 24. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Sandra Stokes of the Louisiana Landmarks Society speaks in front of the Carrollton Courthouse on Wednesday, June 24. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

A day after the former Carrollton Courthouse was named to a prominent list of endangered national landmarks, New Orleans city and school officials gathered on its lawn pledging to seek a public use for the shuttered building that properly honors its history. Continue reading »

Jun 162015
 
The house at 536 Octavia Street, photographed in May 2014 (via Google Maps).

The house at 536 Octavia Street, photographed in May 2014 (via Google Maps).

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. Continue reading »

Jun 052015
 
Residential structures from the former New Orleans Adolescent Hospital along Henry Clay Avenue will be torn down as part of the Children's Hospital expansion. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Residential structures from the former New Orleans Adolescent Hospital along Henry Clay Avenue were approved for demolition as part of the Children’s Hospital expansion. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

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. Continue reading »

Jun 012015
 
The former fountain store at 7901 St. Charles Avenue. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The former fountain store at 7901 St. Charles Avenue. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

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. Continue reading »

May 292015
 
The former Carrollton court house, photographed in June 2014. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Robert Morris)

The former Carrollton court house, photographed in June 2014. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Robert Morris)

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. Continue reading »

May 252015
 

The former Carrollton court house, photographed in June 2014. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Robert Morris)

The former Carrollton court house, photographed in June 2014. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Robert Morris)


Owen Courrèges

Owen Courrèges

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. Continue reading »

May 202015
 
A side view of the house proposed for 518 Eleonore. (via nola.gov)

A side view of the house proposed for 518 Eleonore. (rendering by William Sonner Designs, image via nola.gov)

518 Eleonore Street (via Orleans Parish Assessor's Office)

518 Eleonore Street (via Orleans Parish Assessor’s Office)

The city panel overseeing demolitions in much of Uptown New Orleans split this week over a request to tear down what may be one of the oldest houses in the Audubon neighborhood and replace it with new construction, after the owner and preservationists debated whether or not it has deteriorated beyond repair. Continue reading »

May 062015
 
The shotguns in the 2400 block of Cadiz -- before their demolition (top left, via Google Maps), then during and after their demolition (by Jean-Paul Villere for UptownMessenger.com)

The shotguns in the 2400 block of Cadiz — before their demolition (top left, via Google Maps), then during and after their demolition (by Jean-Paul Villere for UptownMessenger.com)

Jean-Paul Villere

Jean-Paul Villere

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. Continue reading »

May 052015
 
Children's Hospital's proposed master plan for the redevelopment of the former New Orleans Adolescent Hospital site. (via nola.gov -- click to enlarge)

Children’s Hospital’s proposed master plan for the redevelopment of the former New Orleans Adolescent Hospital site. (via nola.gov — click to enlarge)

City officials gave an initial endorsement Monday to Children’s Hospital’s plan to tear down a handful of long-dilapidated residential structures along the edge of the former New Orleans Adolescent Hospital campus and replace them with a new parking structure intended to unify the two medical campuses into one. Continue reading »

Apr 202015
 
The apartment complex at 1900 Amelia Street, midway through its demolition. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The apartment complex at 1900 Amelia Street, midway through its demolition. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The old abandoned apartment complex at the corner of Amelia and Dryades street has long drawn the ire of its neighbors, who have complained for years that it was an eyesore and a danger.

Late last week, in dramatic fashion, something was finally done about the building — by gravity. It partially collapsed on Thursday, and on Friday, the city of New Orleans sent a demolition crew to finish the job. Continue reading »

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Apr 102015
 
The Our Lady of Lourdes church on Napoleon Avenue. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The Our Lady of Lourdes church on Napoleon Avenue. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

After years of trying to find a new purpose for the flooded Our Lady of Lourdes church on Napoleon Avenue, the Archdiocese of New Orleans has decided to place the majestic building up for sale to a buyer that can be a good neighbor to the Catholic school next door. Continue reading »

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Apr 082015
 
The vacant lot at 820 General Pershing was overgrown and littered when photographed in late March. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The vacant lot at 820 General Pershing was overgrown and littered when photographed in late March. The rectory, under renovation next door, can be seen behind the wall. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The vacant site of a century-old home on General Pershing Street — demolished last year despite sustained outcry from its neighbors — may finally see some use this fall as green space for the nearby Ecole Bilingue de la Nouvelle-Orléans. Continue reading »

Apr 062015
 
A rendering depicting the approximate size and layout of the homes proposed for the former Turnbull Bakery site in the Irish Channel, though each house will be individually designed. (image courtesy of Pentek Homes)

A rendering depicting the approximate size and layout of the homes proposed for the former Turnbull Bakery site in the Irish Channel, though each house will be individually designed. (image courtesy of Pentek Homes)

The Turnbull Bakery entrance on First Street. (via Google Maps)

The Turnbull Bakery entrance on First Street. (via Google Maps)

Article by Kristen Himmelberg for UptownMessenger.com

The site of the old Turnbull Bakery in the Irish Channel neighborhood is set to undergo a major transformation in the coming years as city officials and neighborhood leaders have begun signing off on plans for the demolition of the old warehouses and construction of 17 single-family homes. Continue reading »

Apr 062015
 

Owen Courreges

If I had to write a motto for the Historic District Landmarks Commission (HDLC), it would be: “Making you kiss the ring to replace your roof.”

There are few examples of useless bureaucratic slime worse than the HDLC. This gaggle of architectural fetishists has crafted a Byzantine set of design guidelines, many of which have nothing whatsoever to do with preservation and appear specifically designed to render any renovation prohibitively expensive.

The only saving grace of the HDLC is that their authority is limited to a small number of core neighborhoods. This is kind of like saying that the saving grace of buck moth caterpillars is that they only come out in the Spring – it’s a restraint, but not exactly what I’d call a redeeming quality. Continue reading »

Mar 232015
 
The former Le Roux banquet hall at 1700 Louisiana Avenue, photographed in January 2015. (photos courtesy of Nina English).

The former Le Roux banquet hall at 1700 Louisiana Avenue, photographed in January 2015. (photos courtesy of Nina English).

The former Le Roux banquet hall on Louisiana Avenue that was damaged by fire last year has been approved for demolition, and the owner is considering replacing it with a new condo development. Continue reading »

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Mar 112015
 
Jean-Paul Villere

Jean-Paul Villere

Prologue: Each Saturday at noon on WTUL 91.5 FM in New Orleans, Mark Tobler’s DJ set almost always opens with John Hartford’s song “Back in the Good Old Days.”  The song is a projection of a future population residing at a city dump, and while there — though they may imbibe as a community — the topic of discussion and conversation will be remembering when things were better and wondering how things became what they are.

The 21st century has been a veritable roller coaster thus far for the Crescent City.  Storms, diaspora, growth, crime, food highs, political lows, Hollywood South, hospital hubbub, even an entrepreneurial hotbed too.  It’s downright dizzying at times.  And then there’s our blight — and the quest to remedy that scourge, often via demolition.  We as a city often decry the Big Easy brand as slipping away via noise ordinances, smoking bans, whatever legal challenges and changes that float through City Hall.  But removing the landscape in the name of the greater good?  To be sure, there’s no faster way to becoming Anywhere, USA. Continue reading »