Every year the Louisiana Landmarks Society releases its list of New Orleans' most endangered historic sites, and this year's roundup is pretty scathing. The list decries the commercialization of New Orleans' spaces: the list includes all of New Orleans' parks and public spaces, and even an entire neighborhood being threatened by "exploitive tourism." In another controversial move, the society included New Orleans' Confederate monuments on the list. Here, we mapped all nine of this year's sites so you can see them for yourself (for general list items like "all New Orleans parks and public spaces," we just mapped one location).Read More
New Orleans' Nine Most Endangered Sites
New Orleans' Parks and Public Places
The recent controversy over a sports complex at The Fly and a planned golf course at City Park "illustrate the increasing threat of privatizing, specializing, and commercializing public spaces in our city," the society says. "Furthermore, because limited admission and commercial facilities are available only to those who can afford the price of admission, they harken back to the days when access to public places was denied to many." The society recommends new facilities in parks be controlled by conditional use permits, subject to review by the City Planning Commission and approval by the City Council.
1505 St. Bernard Ave.
This blighted and neglected two-story masonry, built in 1927 and once part of a thriving corridor for African-American owned businesses in the 7th Ward, the current owner bought the building in 2011 and five years later has done nothing to develop the property—and even recently requested its demolition.
Featured recently in True Detective and Beyonce's Lemonade, the site faces "rapidly advancing deterioration of the brick skeletal remnants" and the owners of the site, the State of Louisiana, "evidently has neither the financial capability nor intent to care for this national treasure."
636 Royal St.
Known as the Pedesclaux-Lemonnier House, "the city's first skyscraper," and "Sieur George's" after a story by novelist George Washington Cable, this townhouse is one of the few remaining structures from New Orleans' Spanish colonial period. The building has significant structural issues, and The Vieux Carré Commission has cited the owners of the building on numerous occasions for neglect and even filed a lawsuit against the owners in 1988 in the Civil District Court.
468 St. Joseph St.
Built in 1846, this Greek revival townhouse in the Warehouse District has steadily deteriorated over the years, and the Historic District Landmarks Commission has cited the property owners for allowing the property to deteriorate by neglect.
Yup, the society included an entire neighborhood on its list. The former working-class neighborhood "is being 'reinvented' as a tourist destination with plans for a megacruise ship terminal, high density vacation condominiums, hotels/hostels/short-term rentals, tourist oriented retail, and riverside condos that will wall off the community, without regulations similar to what protects the French Quarter," the list says.
Fountain of the Four Winds
The sculpture created by Enrique Alférez in 1936-37 and funded by the WPA fell into disrepair, which was exacerbated by Hurricane Katrina. With such a big restoration of the art deco Lakefront Airport, where the sculpture is located, one would hope that this sculpture would also see a revival.
New Orleans' Confederate Monuments
Weighing in on the controversy regarding the planned removal of New Orleans' Confederate monuments, the society wonders if removing these monuments will lead to a "slippery slope that should be rejected." It also blames the "divisive rhetoric generated by this process, combined with neglect and indifference to the value and beauty of these artifacts and of their contributions to the urban streetscape, needlessly exposes the monuments to the vagaries of man and nature, and represents ill-formed, ad hoc public policy."
2501 St. Claude Ave.
One of the biggest controversies to hit the Marigny in recent years (probably the biggest since the Cafe Habana debacle) was over a dilapidated St. Claude Avenue building that owners Troy Henry and actor Wendell Pierce planned to demolish and redevelop as an outpost of their convenience store chain. City Council OK’d the demolition request, which outraged neighbors and lead to a lawsuit. The society says that “behind the graffiti and boarded-up windows, there is still a renovation opportunity for the historic St. Claude community,” and that blight fines against the current owners prove they are poor stewards of the historic structure.