Viewpoint: We need to stop demolishing our historic homes (sponsored)

By Susan Johnson, guest columnist

From the street, the house at 1025 Henry Clay Ave. resembles an old-fashioned, eclectic California cabin on a generous lot, with an open, full-length wooden porch, chamfered roof, and double front doors with parti-colored inlaid paneling. In its centenary year, it inspires interest, admiration and affection. 

Yet the house will soon be torn down, if the new owner has his way. The old cypress tree in the backyard will be cut down, too. 

More than this, it looks like the Historic District Landmarks Commission and District A Councilman Joe Giarrusso III are going to let him do it. 

On Feb. 2, the HDLC commissioners approved the demolition of 1025 Henry Clay on the recommendation of HDLC staff, with a vote of 10 to 1.

Blighted firehouse on Louisiana is up for redevelopment

The New Orleans Redevelopment Authority is taking steps to renovate the dilapidated firehouse at 2314 Louisiana Ave. The agency is seeking community input on how to redevelop the 7,000-square-foot city-owned building. On Wednesday evening (March 10), NORA hosted a community meeting via Zoom. The historic firehouse is blighted, and NORA’s goal put it back into commerce. Seth Knudsen, NORA’s real estate development director, said the vacant firehouse is zoned as a historic urban mixed-use district, or HU-MU, which permits residential use as well as a variety of commercial uses from child care to medical and dental clinics to grocery stores and more. 

“When we consider the range of things that’s permitted, this is among the most diverse zoning districts in the city and really contemplates a pretty wide range of possible future uses for the structure,” Knudsen said.

Carrollton Courthouse developer fined for razing schoolhouse building

 

The demolition of a former classroom building next to the Carrollton Courthouse cost the developers the highest possible fine levied by the Historic District Landmark Commission, a fine the commissioners bemoaned as not high enough. The wood-frame building, deemed historic by the HDLC, was torn down in May to make room for the an addition to the Greek Revival landmark building, which is being converted to an assisted living and memory-care residence. The 1,400-square-foot school building dates to the 19th century, the HDLC has determined. The Carrollton Courthouse only briefly operated as a courthouse for the town of Carrollton when it was the seat of Jefferson Parish, according to a history of the building by the HDLC. It was converted to a school, then McDonogh 23, after the area was annexed to New Orleans in 1874.

Endangered places: 1860s cottage in the heart of Central City

The real estate market in Central City is hot right now. At the high end, a house on South Rampart Street recently sold for $600,000 and two others, on Josephine Street and South Liberty Street, have sold in the $400,000 range. At the other end of the price and move-in ready spectrum, a house on South Robertson Street, which looks like it is only a façade covered in cat’s claw at this point, sold for $30,000. These homes and prices also reflect the evolving housing stock of the neighborhood. A quick drive around reveals modest family homes next to abandoned houses in a state of an advanced decay next to gleaming renovations.

Endangered Places: French Benevolent Society Tomb in Lafayette Cemetery No. 2

This is the second in a series following up on the Uptown sites named on the Louisiana Landmarks Society’s 2020 list of New Orleans’ Nine Most Endangered Sites. The cemetery off of Washington Avenue in Central City is, to be expected, quiet on a Monday morning. Tombs in various states of care are engraved with names reflecting the teeming diversity of New Orleans when the cemetery was established in 1850: Oberschmidt, Armato, Battiste, Tujague, Noble. Other tombs, the large multi-level ones, are often benevolent associations: Deutscheler Hendwerker Verein (German Craftsmen Association, 1868), Societé de Bienfaisance de Boucher (French Butchers Society, 1867), Young Men Olympia Benevolent Association, 1883, and Société Française de Bienfaisance et d’Assistance Mutuelle (French Benevolent Society, 1850). While not as cinematically famous as Lafayette Cemetery No.

City begins pulling out and hauling off pay phone kiosks

Central City resident Michael Burnside has been walking New Orleans neighborhoods counting abandoned pay phone kiosks. He developed a list of 77 addresses that he turned over to City Hall. And this week the city began removing those kiosks, in batches of 10, starting in Central City. Anyone harboring nostalgia for 20th century communications devices can purchase the retired apparatus at public auctions. The first 10 removed from the Central City neighborhood will be available during the April public auction.

Glowing up with the Columns: Rejuvenation is a natural progression for this storied gathering place

It wouldn’t be overreaching to say the Columns is beloved by generations of New Orleanians, as well as those visiting the city. The large front porch framed by imposing Doric-style columns has been a favorite for cocktails and watching the scene unfold along St. Charles Avenue. Charming and old world, it is a place where first dates, proposals, break-ups and the accompanying drowning of sorrows, sharing of secrets, love-at-first-sight, weddings, debutante soirees and celebratory fetes happen on a daily basis. If walls could talk, the Columns’ walls could fill three volumes, easily.

Delachaise residents grapple with blight, Cohen High parking and parade Port-o-lets

By Sue Strachan, Uptown Messenger

With the Uptown Carnival parades three weeks away, the new ordinances governing parades was one of the central topics at the monthly Delachaise Neighborhood Association meeting, Tuesday (Jan. 21) at Martin Wine Cellar. Other items on the agenda included updates on a new security district, Cohen High School demolition and parking, and blight. Milan resident Helene Barnett gave an update on the demolition and rebuilding of Walter L. Cohen College Prep High School, 3520 Dryades St. The demolition is scheduled for February, but the parking variance was still a major consideration: Cohen originally had 25 parking spots.