Monday, January 31, 2011

Where the Sidewalk (Now) Ends

S. Tonti Street was torn up today between Cleveland and Palmyra.

Here's the view from S. Galvez, where the last little stub of Palmyra was being torn up:


This home, once on S. Miro, is now located on the upriver side of Louisiana Avenue in Uptown/Central City.  It moved farther than just about any of the other houses that moved off the VA Hospital Footprint.

"Diresto said no movable structures have been razed."

I beg to differ.

As the photo (courtesy of Sandra Stokes and annotated by yours truly) above shows, twenty structures have been demolished in the LSU Footprint since October 2010, including one - denoted with a red triangle - that was demolished after the UMC Board's consultant told all parties present that any additional site preparation risked HUD backing necessary to finance the project.  To put it in context, here's a direct quote from the powerpoint presentation made the last UMC Board Meeting:

"The construction time-line is far ahead of the financing and management structures."

While the arrows above indicate buildings that were in varying condition at time of demolition, we estimate that about 10, if not 13 of them were movable.

Additionally, I have not indicated the 18 lots that were cleared by the contractors.

Workers Spotted in S.W. Green Mansion Today

S. Tonti Closed to Thru Traffic at what once was Banks Street

I couldn't tell for sure at such a distance, but it looked like the street was being torn up off in the distance.  In any event, multiple pieces of heavy equipment were at work.

"in need of purging": State issues RFP for Charity Hospital Building

Once again, I don't believe the Section 106 consulting parties were specifically notified about this particular endeavor that makes up part of the effort to find an adaptive reuse for Charity Hospital.  The Programmatic Agreement in place requires notice to the consulting parties.

Here's the Request for Proposals:

This Request for Proposals (RFP) is issued by Interim LSU Public Hospital (herein referred to as the State or ILH) for the purpose of selecting a contractor to plan, manage and oversee the removal and disposal of all furniture, furnishings, supplies, equipment, records and rubbish from the Charity Hospital Building at 1532 Tulane Avenue, New Orleans, Louisiana and the Lapeyre & Miltenberg (L&M) Building at 1550 Tulane Avenue, New Orleans, Louisiana. These buildings, destroyed as a result of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, have not been used in their previous capacity since then and are in need of purging for any determined future state use.

I'm also curious as to when the State of Louisiana will hold the second Charity adaptive reuse public meeting mandated by the Programmatic Agreement.  The last one was held in mid-October 2010.

"Hospital opening pushed to 2015"

Well, there you have it.

The state will be lucky if it can complete the project by the time Katrina's 10 year anniversary rolls around, if it completes it at all:

The new move-in date, according to a monthly report from Jacobs Engineering, the state's project manager, is Feb. 28, 2015, two months later than the Dec. 31, 2014, date set in the previous report and eight months later than the target at the start of last year.

Significant financing hurdles continue to loom, and the article once again lays out the notion that I've been harping on here at Inside the Footprint for the past week:

Joe Spiak, one of UMC's financial advisers representing AMS Healthcare Mortgage Corp., told the board Jan. 19 that as long as the state is pursuing bond insurance from the U.S. government, the state cannot proceed with site preparation and construction without permission from federal authorities.

As I've shown here at the blog, the state did in fact proceed with site preparation in the LSU Footprint last week despite that warning: Exhibit A, Exhibit B.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

All Alone

The one-time home of Robert Rogers stands alone on the last remnant of Palmyra Street left intact inside the VA Hospital Footprint.

Rogers fought (and seemingly continues to fight) bitterly against the pressure to force him out - especially after he found out that the person who had occupied the other half the shotgun got more compensation than he did.

Charity at Night

Thought still vacant, a few lights were on late last week.

"They haven't done NOTHING for me!"

Yesterday, I happened upon a harried family loading a Uhaul and minivan with belongings in the LSU Footprint.  The mother was none too happy about her relocation assistance package as I rolled up to chat.

One more family set off, displaced by the irresponsibility and belligerent insistence of state officials, the overloaded vehicles crammed with boxes, bags, and tubs.  As I biked along, the wave of senselessness struck me yet again. 

There's a major disconnect here between the policymakers and the people affected - a willing ignorance on the part of the movers and shakers in government and various community institutions who are pushing the hospitals project that is very literally destroying nearly 70 acres of dense, urban neighborhood.  There's been a simple failure to ponder what even a First Grader would wonder: how would you like it if someone came along and forced you out of your own home when they didn't need to do so?  (and yes, the hospital is not fully financed, it takes up far more land than it needs because it's not vertical enough, there were viable alternative sites including Charity hospital, and eminent domain is being used against those who don't sell).

Even architecturally speaking, the family in flight departs a great, viable structure that oozes New Orleans character.  Here's what architectural historian Sally Reeves had to say about the blue house on S. Prieur Street:

"A well-designed two-story galleried double in the style of the 1870s.  The single-level gallery with railing above combines with the segmental openings and projecting overhang to suggest that decade."

The house features cypress drop siding, decorative quoins, and intact transoms over the doorways.

Around the corner, site preparation evidently continued yesterday in the LSU Footprint, as the lot was cleared from the prior day's demolition at about 1913 Palmyra Street:

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Machines and Dirt

[click to enlarge]

Updated Map of VA House Moving Destination Lots

I've updated the Google Map I created which depicts the destination lots of the over 70 houses moved off the VA Hospital Footprint here in New Orleans since September, 2010.

There's only one that is likely not reflected properly here, from what I can tell - the house on Conti that was moved a second time this January.

View LSU/VA Hospitals Footprint - Lower Mid-City, New Orleans in a larger map

It's very interesting to note that about 10 houses have landed in lots that are now potentially in the path of projected development associated with the "consolidated scheme" for BioDistrict New Orleans.

Nine Most Endangered nominations now open

Louisiana Landmarks Society is now taking nominations for the nine most endangered historic sites in the City of New Orleans.

Might I suggest:

Dixie Brewery
McDonogh No. 11 School
Pershing Place/Nanny Goat Park (at Tulane/Banks/S. Galvez)
The entire 1,500-acre BioDistrict Footprint which includes most of the Mid-City National Register District

Friday, January 28, 2011


Last time I checked, the UMC Board's own consultant told it that it was jeopardizing it's shot at HUD financing if it continued to demolish buildings in what's known as the LSU Footprint.

Well, today, the State's contractors demolished yet another building in the LSU Footprint, a multi-story, commercial space that once stood immediately to the right of the shotgun on Palmyra pictured above.  While the building was vacant, it certainly could have been reused as a commercial space within easy walking distance of the existing LSU medical campus.

I'm not quite understanding why the State continues to allow its contractors to take actions that, from everything that's been stated publicly, hurt its chances of getting the funding necessary to actually build the hospital.

UMC, State Continue Hospital Push without Financing in Place, Seemingly Jeopardizing HUD Backing

Despite having the UMC Board's own financial consultant state recently that the construction and site preparation for the proposed hospital was way out ahead of financing realities, the State of Louisiana and UMC are apparently bulling ahead in the LSU Footprint regardless:

Three companies bid to manage University hospital construction

State officials will interview the bidding firms in February, with an announcement of the winner of the project management contract expected on March 24.

You'll recall that according to the UMC Board's own consultant..."as long as the state is pursuing the HUD insurance, the state cannot proceed with site preparation and construction without HUD's permission."

I hope HUD takes notice.  And I hope the firms bidding on the job understand the risk they're taking on - this hospital project is hundreds of millions of dollars away from being a reality.

The CityBusiness piece also, somewhat misleadingly, concludes with this:

Construction of the University Medical Center will coincide with the building of a new Veterans Affairs hospital in the same Mid-City footprint.

No, actually the construction of the UMC will not likely coincide with the building of the new VA hospital.  Site preparation and funding in the VA Footprint are a completely different story - construction of VA will likely start far before UMC gets underway, if UMC ever gets underway. 

Furthermore, the two proposed hospitals are in the same overall Mid-City footprint, but it should be noted that the two hospitals are separate.  They are not joint hospitals as originally conceived.  The acreage being used for the two hospitals went from 37 acres to 67 acres in 2007 when they were suddenly no longer both sited on what is now the LSU Footprint.


Admittedly, my argument above is an indirect one - that moving forward with an expenditure and hiring a construction manager will lead to the actual unwise result - construction before financing is known.

Here's something else that happened today in the LSU Footprint, though, that shows a broader disregard for the consultant's warning - a physical site preparation step forward that would seem to overtly jeopardize HUD funding based on what the financial consultant said and what the Times-Pic reported.

Ms. Ella and her Husband, or Draining the Cultural Marsh

Last evening, I went with some friends to see Ms. Ella and her husband, a native New Orleanian who "masks Indian."  He masked with the Yellow Pocahontas, one of the downtown tribes, and now he does so individually on Mardi Gras day.

But Ms. Ella and her husband are being displaced, like hundreds of other New Orleans, from their neighborhood.  They live in the LSU Footprint.  They're being forced out - for a hospital project that does not even have its funding in place. 

As I walked into the front room of the couple's half-shotgun, the ostentatious scarlet suit, resplendant with its ornate hand-crafted beadwork, dominated the space, where Ms. Ella was taking down photos and certificates from the walls, packing them up in green tubs.

The couple, as cheerful and hospitable as they were, were clearly a bit saddened by the need to leave their home.  Ms. Ella noted that after so much uncertainty for so long, she's now resigned to the move.  She explained how houses all around her house had been demolished in recent weeks. The couple is now looking at a move to a place on Castiglione near the Fairgrounds, over a mile away.

As I took some iPhone photos under the lights and listened to the conversation, I couldn't help but feel the deep sense of loss that circled the impending move.  State actions forcing these good people out of their home are wrong in  large part because they're unnecessary.  And they're emblematic of the problem of saying an area is blighted and acting as if it has no value, National Register District or not.

Razing the area in the VA and LSU Footprints is, when you start to go house by house, very much a draining of the city's incomparably rich cultural marsh.  The architecture of homes like Ms. Ella's classic 1870s shotgun is enough of a loss.  But it cannot be denied that the culture bearers themselves are also being displaced to make way for surface level parking lots that may or may not materialize.

Note for Peripheral Residents just outside VA Footprint

Via the Times-Pic:

Residents and businesses in a section of lower Mid-City will experience low water pressure on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. as a Sewerage &Water Board contractor connects several water lines to a water main as part of the new Veterans Administration hospital project.
The affected streets include South Dorgenois Street and the river side of South Broad Street from Canal Street to Gravier Street, and Palmyra and Banks streets from South Broad Street to South Rocheblave Street.

I trust the City, the contractor, the Sewerage & Water Board, and the VA have all coordinated to pound the pavement and let residents and businesses like Betsy's Pancake House, among others, know that the water pressure will drop during the day.

Big News: Houses to Move off LSU Footprint

Per today's Times-Picayune article on house moving and the LSU/VA Hospital.

"Diresto said Builders of Hope already has identified about two dozen houses that could be moved on the state site, though the final number will be lower once the structures are inspected for termite damage and structural integrity"

We've been pushing for house moving as an alternative to continued demolitions in the LSU Footprint for months, as readers of this blog already know.  Sandra Stokes of the Foundation for Historical Louisiana and Gate Pratt from the National Trust were instrumental in keep the pressure up.  While VA Footprint homes have moved off site, not a single LSU Footprint structure has moved off site to date.

Now, the homes that are moved should be moved with roofs intact.  And the homes should be rehabilitated in their new destination lots with an eye for historic preservation.  That's important if the effort is to mean much of anything.

I'm glad the story also covered one important truth - well-established on this blog - that movable historic homes were demolished in the LSU Footprint by the state since October:

Leaders at the Foundation for a Historical Louisiana and the National Trust for Historic Preservation have applauded the project. But they said this week that the state’s insistence on proceeding with demolitions before the initial program finished has caused at least 10 and as many as 13 movable homes to be razed on the UMC site.

Diresto said no movable structures have been razed. As of Thursday evening, he had not responded to the specific list of demolished properties compiled by the National Trust.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Gray and Brown

Crews removed remaining telephone poles in the VA Footprint today on the corner where Outer Banks Bar once stood.

Down at the spot where Cleveland Avenue once intersected with S. Galvez, the poles were long gone.  And crews worked on the old Pan-Am building off in the distance.  The building, built by Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill, will be incorporated into the final VA Hospital complex.  It is the only property in the VA Footprint currently owned and controlled by the VA.

"amazing and tragic"

Phoenix of New Orleans (PNOLA) takes stock of the neighborhood that it helped to rebuild after the storm - now that a large swath of it has been destroyed:

Wally, Bobbi and Kevin, Frank, Gayle, Ruth, and all of the other neighborhood people who supported PNOLA all lost their houses...that definitely hit me right away but mainly because I felt for them individually.

PNOLA was part of the glue that held the neighborhood together as it struggled back from the flooding the followed Hurricane Katrina when the levees broke.

Moved House at Second and Daneel (2)

Wally Thurman's former home, once on S. Tonti, has had a foundation put in, and the roof is being reconstituted.  The original walls are intact, unlike the house across the street.

Moved House at Second and Daneel

I was somewhat shocked to pull up today and see that the walls had been stripped down to the studs.  While I want to see the moved houses brought back online, I have no idea why that happened to a moved house (formerly of S. Miro Street) - which was in sound enough shape to be occupied in the VA Footprint until some point in 2010 shortly before demolitions got underway in the area.

The window and door frames appeared to have been removed and stacked inside the facade.

Rumblings about house moving in the LSU Footprint

Multiple sources are saying that something concrete may emerge soon.

To the Dance Studio

Now that Outer Banks Bar has been demolished, the Committee to Reopen Charity Hospital will be meeting in a new location in the LSU Footprint this evening:

1926 Canal Street
Canal Street Guest House Dance Studio

The Canal Street Guest House is being expropriated and displaced - and the comparison properties used in the assessment of the property, from what I understand, consisted of lodging facilities that are not located on the streetcar line, a crucial aspect of the business' current location.  Thus, the compensation offered by the state for the taking, at least initially, did not reflect the value of the property.

The Loss of Banks Street, Visually

Photos in this post courtesy of Sandra Stokes.

Why did the City of New Orleans permit the VA to take out Banks Street between S. Rocheblave and S. Galvez?  It really makes no sense at all - it's not like the VA's design really requires the land; it's a mid-rise hospital that could and should have been a high rise hospital on a much smaller footprint.  As you can see above at left, one of the longest contiguous avenues of live oaks, planted as a World War I memorial, has been broken, the street itself torn out and plowed over.

The City's failure to attach any meaningful design-related strings to its approval to close the streets in the VA Footprint leaves the city with one of its significant secondary corridors (one lined with mature live oaks) snapped at a key point.  The street no longer serves its overall function of funneling traffic off Canal and Tulane from near downtown to points far up in Mid-City, of reducing congestion on those larger thoroughfares and providing a neighborhood alternative.

The ill-conceived change has also led to unintended consequences, as I myself have found - like increased pressure on capillary roadways in the area, like the often-overlooked Manassas Place, shown here in red:

Loss of a key part of the street grid didn't have to happen.

Here's the view from overhead:

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Random Re-Move

On Friday, while en route to an unrelated meeting, I happened to see a crew trying to get what looked like a VA Footprint house unstuck at Conti and S. Galvez.

An arborist was chopping down a branch in the neutral ground as I approached.  I learned that the house was not being moved directly off-site, as I suspected.  Instead, it was being moved from the original location it was moved to back before the first of the year - somewhere on Conti, ostensibly.

I still have yet to determine which house it was - I couldn't tell because the entire thing was wrapped and it didn't look familiar.

Anyway, as I left to attend my meeting, the house was once again underway, heading toward the river on Conti.

Crews Cutting Wires at McDonogh No. 11 School

Employees from Cox were cutting wires that led to the building not long ago.  At least one employee of the state's chief contractor was on hand as well. 

To my knowledge, Orleans Parish School Board still owns the property.  Even though Priestley Charter has vacated the building, I was surprised to see wires getting cut today since the UMC Board's consultant noted publicly last Wednesday that site preparation was getting way far out ahead of the financing available to pull off the proposed hospital facility.

There are currently no plans to save or move the 1879 school building, as far as I'm aware.  The building is slated to be demolished.

Meanwhile, on the site of another post-Katrina mass demolition...

Photos in this post courtesy of Sandra Stokes.

...the grass has grown in across multiple still-vacant lots in what used to be the B.W. Cooper Projects (a portion of the buildings are still standing and in use off to the left in this photograph).

The destruction of dozens of brick B.W. Cooper (or "Calliope") buildings a few years ago to make way for...nothing...should give us all pause about the VA and LSU hospital projects, especially the latter one which continues to face major financial uncertainties.  Even projects with the best of intentions, once initiated, can have serious unintended consequences or unpredictable outcomes.  The lesson should be clear: Historic neighborhoods should not be demolished wantonly when the prospect of the lands lying fallow in the heart of the city remains real.  We've seen it happen before.

As you can see from the photo below, the great green vacancy is not all that far from the barren brown vacancy that continues to grow in Lower Mid-City.  


Photo courtesy of Sandra Stokes.

Perhaps he was talking about the VA Footprint house moving effort, which was funded by CDBG dollars.  That undertaking could conceivably bear the label.

But the Times-Picayune story today doesn't make any notation to that effect.  Instead, we see Mayor Mitch Landrieu praising the LSU/VA hospital complex itself as innovative:

"From the hospital complex rising in Mid-City to ongoing renovations at the airport and the Superdome to a wave of new schools that will be built with FEMA dollars, the mayor said New Orleans is emerging as a 'laboratory' for the innovative use of tax dollars to create jobs."

I'm sorry.  The leveling of 70 acres of neighborhood in a national historic district in one of the most historic cities in America - when far less destructive alternatives were available - is the absolute antithesis of innovative.  It's failed urban renewal razing of the inner city all over again.  The City should be ashamed that it permitted the federal and state governments to use taxpayer dollars to displace over 500 residents and over 50 businesses trying to rebuild after Hurricane Katrina.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Well, Mr. President...

...even here in America, if the central government wants a railroad - or a hospital - they get it - no matter how many homes are bulldozed.  We've seen that here in New Orleans, where demolition of a neighborhood has been facilitated by the federal government, namely federal agencies like VA, FEMA, and HUD.

"All of it will take time. And it will be harder because we will argue about everything. The cost. The details. The letter of every law.

Of course, some countries don’t have this problem. If the central government wants a railroad, they get a railroad – no matter how many homes are bulldozed. If they don’t want a bad story in the newspaper, it doesn’t get written.

Fortunately, the bad stories do make it into the newspaper here on occasion.  Once in a while, they do get written.

All Quiet in the LSU Footprint

Besides Brick Man and company picking through some bricks on Cleveland Avenue, the Footprint below S. Galvez was almost entirely devoid of site preparation activity.

As has been made clear lately, that's important.  Given that financing is not in place for the site, any movement toward demolition needs to be watched very closely (as it's now clear that such movements would jeopardize HUD financing that is crucial to the project).


The VA Footprint looks like the aftermath of some World War I battle.  Just remember - people still live here.

The seagreen house above, Gaynell's house, appears to be in the process of getting moved off the site.

The ruins of the gray house at 214 S. Tonti, which had a fantastic facade, lie at the head of a lake that continues to form due to rain and a bubbling spring that appears to be coming from a broken water pipe in the street nearby.

Here's a view of the space where Wally Thurman's house once stood.  Off on the right, the gray house, a camelback, is still occupied.

Back on S. Galvez, Ruth Sanderson's house from Palmyra, the last house on its entire city block square, awaits final extraction from the site.  Far off in the distance, you can see the houses on the mud path version of S. Rocheblave Street.

Four Figures at Dixie

Four figures - who were not wearing work vests - were walking around the perimeter of Dixie Brewery this afternoon, and I saw that they eventually went inside the large back gate of the brick tower portion of the building.  The building has not, to my knowledge, been expropriated at this time, and is still owned by the longtime owners.

Driving around the front of the building on the Tulane Avenue side, I saw one man, not one of the four pictured above, walking out of the front main gate opening.

The former Banks Street can be seen in the foreground between the live oaks that remain.

2500 Block of Palmyra Apparently Getting Closed

The 2500 and 2600 blocks of Cleveland Avenue are still not open to traffic.

Nevertheless, crews began to close off the 2500 block of Palmyra Street today, just outside of the VA Footprint, as neighbors and residents looked on.

Given all of the complaints at the VA Neighborhood meeting last Tuesday, as well as all of the complaints at the Wednesday City Council Committee Hearing, I can't believe the City didn't instruct the contractor to wait until Cleveland was open to reduce the problems and tension that continue to plague the neighborhood peripheral to the VA Hospital site.

The utility replacement that is necessitating the closures is in furtherance of the LSU/VA Hospitals project.

The TP, too, flies over the site

Aerial shots from the Times-Picayune reveal the true nature of the devastation in the VA Hospital Footprint - the clear cutting of a field of historic neighborhood.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Sunday, January 23, 2011

As if to Prove a Point

An ambulance responds in the 2500 block of Palmyra Street earlier this month.

Just one block over on Cleveland Avenue, residents have not had access to emergency services since November.  The block is immediately outside the VA Footprint, but the construction work there is in furtherance of the VA project.  It's hoped that the street, long torn up, will finally permit roadway access for residents in early February.

The lack of emergency services was one of the key drivers for the dozens in attendance at last Wednesday's City Council Committee hearing:

Here's the articulate and comprehensive testimony of one property owner on Cleveland Avenue, outlining all of the issues faced by the people on the periphery...after the break:

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Pumphouse

A map produced at yesterday's City Council Committee hearing showed the current pumphouse staying in use (the Mediterranean Revival building at left above).

Here are some more details about the structure via Jeff Lamb.

Back in November and December, several contractors replaced some of the roof tiling, which indicated an intention to retain the building.p

Gaynell's House Prepares to Move Off-site

The familiar green house on the last shreds of Palmyra has been separated from it's rear portion and had its roof removed for transport.  The small two-story cottage/carriage house in the back was demolished.

Here are some VA Footprint statistics as presented yesterday by a City official in Council Chambers:

- 191 parcels acquired (100 expropriated)
- 3 parcels remaining (Dixie Brewery)

- 225 total relocation units
- 221 relocation units have moved off site
- 116 residential displacements
- 109 non-residential displacements

Demolition/House Moving:
 - 67 structures demolished (I'm curious about this number...)
- 69 structures moved
- 32 lots cleared
- 16 parcels remaining
- 194 total parcels

WDSU Story on City Council Hearing

Here you go.

LSU (UMC) Still Doesn't Have the Money

And now, a handful of us broken record players aren't the only ones recognizing that.

Bill Barrow from the Times-Picayune put out a telling article today that discusses the many hurdles that remain for adequate financing of the proposed UMC Hospital.  Things aren't looking entirely rosy.

Yesterday's revelatory UMC Management Corporation Board meeting came one day after a city official asked a few of us at the VA Neighborhood meeting, "Now, let me ask you something - do you really think they aren't going to get their money?"  When I and a few others noted that no, UMC does not have any assurance of ever getting the necessary funding, there was laughter, as if in disbelief.

Well, yesterday's meeting reinforced our position.  The UMC Board's own national consultant was saying all kinds of things, as I heard while I was onhand.  Like the fact that "The construction time-line is far ahead of the financing and management structures,"  according to a representative from J.P. Morgan Chase.  In fact, he later reiterated that site preparation "was so very far ahead of us" as if to emphasize the unhealthy gap.  This was noted as a concern that might jeopardize HUD backing.

Barrow lays out it very clearly and notes the even starker terms:

State-hired architects have plans drawn, state consultants are completing land acquisition and the state facilities office is ready to hire a construction manager. But, Spiak told the board, as long as the state is pursuing the HUD insurance, the state cannot proceed with site preparation and construction without HUD's permission. 

That last sentence is big.  That means that any site work proceeding in the LSU Footprint at this time should be questioned - or at least documented.  I encourage anyone interested to do just that until we hear something publicly from HUD saying that site preparation and construction can proceed.

For months, I've been trying to stop the State and its contractors from continuing to demolish historic homes in the LSU Footprint because many of them are contributing properties in a national historic district.  I've tried to illustrate the losses here at Inside the Footprint and point out that adequate financing is still not in place - and that demolitions in that light are foolish and regrettable.

The UMC Board also approved retaining a community relations consultant at yesterday's meeting.  Given the other issues raised in the meeting, I just don't know that such a hire is going to do the trick.

"I really feel sorry I came back to New Orleans."

Here are a few comments from peripheral residents affected by the VA Footprint - as presented as yesterday's City Council Committee hearing.

Riding with Roberta

I ran into the author Roberta Gratz yesterday, and we ended up on a tour of the ever-bleaker Footprint, to the extent that's now possible.  She had a journalist's mind - and some pithy insights.

Off in the distance, you'll see the former Ruth Sanderson home on what was Palmyra having its roof taken off and the front portion separated for moving.  A small batch of moves is anticipated for the near future after a long dry spell.  The gray "dogs" house at 214 S. Tonti was being salvaged, which means it will likely not be moved - which is unfortunate, given that it has one of the more distinctive and intact facades in the VA Footprint.

Here's a shot of the house as brick was being taken out, shortly before salvage got underway recently: