Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Bobbi and Kevin's Camelback
The handsome, fully restored sidehall camelback home at 2316 Palmyra Street was fading today as I arrived in the VA Hospital Footprint after a few days away. The entire landscape looked far more alien then when I left; even the trees are now being torn down. Here, you can see the home from beneath another building at 223 S. Galvez - a two-story structure whose bottom floor has been torn away and whose top floor is presently sitting on piers, waiting to be moved offsite.
Kevin, the former owner, stood by with a video camera today as the crews tore the roofs off of his former home. He, along with his wife Bobbi, came down to New Orleans after Katrina to help with recovery efforts. They ultimately became a part of the neighborhood in Lower Mid-City that they helped to serve, purchasing and restoring the camelback pictured above.
Around the corner, James, in black, discussed a problem with wires with work crews. He, too, moved to New Orleans post-Katrina to help rebuild, working with the Phoenix of New Orleans organization (PNOLA). Specifically, he helped intimately with the repairs and reconstruction on Bobbi and Kevin's camelback.
The man on the right, wearing his U.S.S. Bellatrix hat, grew up in the house decades ago. He's been watching the process for some time now, and he recalled this morning how his father, a carpenter, made numerous repairs on the historic home when he acquired it many decades ago.
The camelback house is an architectural style that derives in large part from New Orleans' uniquely long and narrow lots. Oftentimes, a long, narrow, single story shotgun home from the latter half of the nineteenth century would be altered with the addition of a second story "hump" in the back of the house, making it a "1.5 story" home.
Fortunately, it appears that Builders of Hope will be moving the lower front portion of the structure at the very least. To date, I have yet to see a camelback from the VA Footprint moved "with its hump" to a new location.
While the moving effort is a true silver lining, it's difficult to avoid seeing the cloud as I watched the people so intimately connected with the home - and the neighborhood - look on as it met its end as a place so particular to its little corner of New Orleans.