FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 23, 2010
STATEMENT BY MAYOR LANDRIEU ON VA FOOTPRINT DEMOLITIONS
Mayor Mitch Landrieu released the following statement on the demolition of properties in the VA footprint:
“Today, I have demanded that the state halt demolitions of historic properties in the VA footprint. They have agreed to temporarily halt demolitions of properties identified as historic by the State Historic Preservation Office.
“We have been, for some time, working on a process to move and bring back into commerce many of the homes in the neighborhood. It is possible to move these homes expeditiously and keep the VA hospital project on track.
“It is a huge undertaking and one that we are committed to getting done with the help of the state, its contractors, non-profit groups and other partners.”
It's good to see that the state, now that eight historic homes have been destroyed, has agreed to temporarily halt demolitions of properties in the VA Footprint identified as historic by the SHPO.
I'm curious, though, to see what that means. One list of houses put out earlier by SHPO contained only single-story houses (those eligible for possible moving) - not all houses that were deemed structures contributing to the Mid-City National Register Historic District (a much larger list than the 40 or so on the SHPO list). I trust that Landrieu is referring to the latter, more expansive list.
While I'd rather see the neighborhood left in place, I would prefer to see as many houses moved to other locations in Mid-City in the end if there is absolutely no way to avoid having the VA medical complex built in its inappropriate location. This move by the Mayor, working in tandem with his 45-day review of the LSU site design, gives me hope that the city will end up with something at least marginally better than what would have otherwise emerged from the Nagin-era plans.