Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Wrong Place, Right Time

This morning, sensing far more preparatory activity evident in the VA Footprint, I confirmed with the crew working on S. Galvez Street that two houses in the VA Footprint are being prepared for a move, as opposed to demolition - these two.  It seems the camelback immediately to the right will not, apparently, be moved.

The roof on the green house was being torn away - I'm not certain how that factors into the moving process, but I hope it's part of the plan.  One of the key goals of the moving process should be to retain the historic character of the structures so that they retain their contributing status to the Mid-City National Register Historic District (it's my understanding that they will be moved to other sites within that same District).

The situation in the Footprint is on the brink of a tipping point.  At least some historic houses are ostensibly going to be moved.  That's a better outcome than demolition of every home.

But it's still a reminder that the effort to stop the elimination of the residential area above S. Galvez is in its final hours.  Even if some homes are saved and moved elsewhere, the terrible decision to build the VA Hospital in an historic district and a neighborhood, detached from the Central Business District is about to come home to roost.  To flip Dr. John's famous line, it's the right time (to bring care back online) - but it's very much the wrong place.  Especially if LSU is unable to complete its planned adjacent medical complex.

There's still at least one chance.  That's the rally tomorrow to deliver petitions to Mayor Landrieu.  With enough community outpouring, it's difficult to say what he might be willing to do.  But there is still that chance.  See the posts below for details.

One more thing.  Recently, someone suggested that the effort to move the houses off the site will suddenly be a huge burden to taxpayers.  I found the argument rather absurd.  For one, demolition, too costs something.  Second, a responsible multi-billion dollar project should have accounted for adequate moving costs and historical preservation from the outset.  And finally, there wouldn't be any issue over moving costs at all if we had not seen such belligerent insistence on building in Lower Mid-City - a place where people are still living even as homes are demolished around them.

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