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.
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.
In a city known for its architecture, culture and history — and the use of these treasured elements in tourism promotion — it can be a surprise when they are neglected by the city that originated or inspired them. While the Louisiana Landmarks Society can’t solve all of the problems, for the past 71 years, the group has shone a light on at-risk historic buildings and other structures, such as tombs, in danger of falling down and being demolished by neglect and on neighborhoods that are at risk of being permanently altered by destructive new developments. In 2005, the organization annually began a program naming “New Orleans Nine Most Endangered Sites” to bring awareness to the issues these programs or historic structures face.
There are success stories, such as the St. Roch Market, Orpheum Theater, St. Francis de Sales Church, the World Trade Center and Myrtles Banks Elementary.
The Louisiana Landmarks Society, which promotes historic preservation through education, advocacy and operation of the Pitot House, has announced the sites selected for its 2019 New Orleans’ Nine Most Endangered list. Two Uptown buildings were listed on Louisiana Landmarks Society’s list: the McDonogh 7 building on 1111 Milan St. and a three-story Greek Revival building near the Lower Garden District at riverfront 425 Celeste St. The Louisiana Landmarks Society also listed two citywide threats; former movie theaters and Sewerage & Water Board infrastructure were named as endangered. Modeled on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s listing of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places, the New Orleans’ Nine was inaugurated by Louisiana Landmarks Society in 2005.