Saturday, June 26, 2010
Back in May, I noted a list of the next dozen houses slated for demolition at that point.
While four of them have been demolished, eight were not. After the Mayor's public statement committing site clearing funds out of the existing VA Hospital budget for moving houses to other vacant lots in Mid-City with the help of Builders of Hope and Providence, it looks like they will not be demolished. Certainly not every single house in the VA Footprint can be moved given structural issues, but every one that can be moved should be moved.
The houses shown above, located at 237 and 233 S. Galvez, had received the "Gas Off" spray paint treatment and were boarded up recently - the sign, from maps and recent experience, that title had been acquired by LSU and the property was up for demolition in the near future.
Why is it significant that these houses and the other eight on the list were saved? It's important because they're a) "contributing properties" in the Mid-City National Register Historic District, b) they contain craftsmanship and materials that can't easily be duplicated once destroyed, c) they're part of the distinctive architectural landscape and heritage that sets New Orleans apart from other U.S. and world cities, and d) they can still play a role as a viable part of the housing stock.
At this point, it's crucial that even as the state and local government seems committed to moving the homes in the VA Footprint...we must reinforce the need to preserve as many of the historic homes in the LSU Footprint as possible, especially now that the design of that particular medical complex is under review. While the LSU Footprint has fewer structures overall, some of them are nonetheless architecturally distinctive and, as with Deutsches Haus and Freret's McDonogh #16 school, culturally important.