Wednesday, March 30, 2011

In the Shadow of the Grand Palace

Yesterday's announcement that the State of Louisiana will be pursuing demolition of the former Grand Palace Hotel (known by various other names through time) in the 1700 block of Canal Street coincided with a growing concern by members of at least one group that works with New Orleans' famed historic cemeteries.

It's my understanding that one local group will be soon be sending a letter to various developing parties expressing concerns about potential vibration-based damage to the historic tombs in St. Louis #2 Cemetery, which is just over a block away from the looming Grand Palace Hotel structure (see image above).  The cemetery opened in the early 1800s.

The tombs in plat 3, the part of the cemetery closest to the demolition, are typically taller "apartment" tombs - with multiple stacked tombs in one edifice.  Some are in poor, fragile condition.  That particular part of the cemetery also contains more African American tombs than other parts, from what I've been told.

Vibrations from pile driving in the proposed UMC Footprint are also a concern.

NOTE: Despite this Fox8 report noting that a demolition contract will be signed this week for the Grand Palace Hotel, I've been informed that the contract has not yet been signed because bids have not even been submitted.  I've also been told that the state's contractors are planning some additional monitoring for the cemeteries.

Gratz on the BioDistrict

"If you want to understand why New Orleans will remain a troubled city longer than it has to, don’t look at the disasters that have befallen it. Look at the big projects it pursues in an erroneous effort to recovery from them."

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Demolition, Site Prep Continue in LSU Footprint

Yesterday and today, crews were out in the LSU Footprint.  The double shotgun at 2100-02 Cleveland Avenue, corner of S. Johnson, was demolished recently.  The building had partially burnt within the past 6 months.

The two buildings nextdoor on Cleveland Avenue had their brackets removed as of last week. After noticing the loss of architectural elements, I contacted someone who oversees the site and was told that the owners removed them. I will attempt to follow up to confirm that.

Charity Hospital sat empty off in the distance as the site preparation continued.

If HUD funding does not come through (and I've heard from one source that it has not), then I would not be surprised if the state, despite its vague assertions in today's Times-Picayune, would be forced to build a smaller hospital.

And that most certainly re-opens the question: then why not rebuild in Charity?

State says it will break ground in LSU Footprint on April 18, 2011

Despite reality.

Monday, March 28, 2011

OPSB Files Suit Against State re: McDonogh No. 11

Here, per the Times-Picayune.

And WWLTV, the source cited by the Times-Pic:

“We do not know if it is possible to move McDonough No. 11, and, if not, we hope the State will incorporate the building into the new hospital as we have long suggested.” Moran said.

Regular readers of this blog knew almost a month and a half ago that OPSB was mounting a legal challenge to the state's compensation for McDonogh No. 11.

Another letter to the editor

About McDonogh No. 11.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Empty Haus

The remains of the Deutsches Haus grow a bit more bedraggled with each passing day.

Today, several people were removing what appeared to be air conditioners off the upper roof of the complex.  It was not clear who they were working for at the time.

Site Preparation Continues in LSU Footprint

Today, crews were at work in mutiple, mostly clearing trees and vegatation, also doing some archaeological work.

State attempting to have ALL streets in LSU Footprint revoked

City Planning Commission Hearing
April 12 at 1:30 p.m.
City Council Chambers

More information and background to follow.  I encourage you to attend and oppose the revocation of the streets, which is excessive and unnecessary.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Along Palmyra Street, VA Hospital Footprint

Here's what it used to look like from S. Galvez Street.

You'll note that the stalwart palm tree no longer breaks the horizon.  That's because it seems someone is going to cart it away, roots and all:

"the money is in hand": An Open Response to Bobby Jindal's TV Appearance This Morning

No, Governor, the money is not in hand for the proposed University Medical Center in New Orleans.  It most definitely is not.

I have so many issues with the Governor's appearance on WWLTV this morning that I don't know where to begin.  And that's coming from someone who had high hopes for Bobby Jindal as a smart new kind of thinking conservative at the outset of his term as governor.

Watching the interview and Jindal's eyes-down, driving delivery ("It's absolutely going to happen."), it's almost as if he's simply trying to will the hospital into being, despite all the very real obstacles that remain.  That lines up with the state's approach on the ground for much of 2010. 

Let's run through a few of the claims made in the tv appearance:

1.  Shared services.  The whole premise of the "LSU/VA" hospital being co-located for synergy was long ago revealed as bunk.  And yet people continue to talk as if the hospitals are a joint venture.  Jindal says backroom facilities will still be shared.  What does that mean?  The host didn't push for any details.  I won't believe it until I hear concrete specifics.  The two facilities will open at such vastly different times at this rate that I don't know how either one could rely any any critical joint functions, unless the UMC is going to rely on VA services and not the other way around.

2.  A number of possible funding sources to make up the financing gap - What exactly are these mysterious sources?  In the late fall, it was very clear from consultants at a UMC Board meeting that if HUD did not approve the application from the UMC, the private bond market wouldn't touch the $400 million gap with a ten foot pole.  HUD's process is rigorous and does not guarantee funding to applicants by any means - and UMC still hasn't procured mortgage insurance from HUD.  In fact, HUD had a number of concerns about the initial UMC application - on major issues like design.  The money is not in hand.

3.  The vast majority of demolition will be done by April.  Perhaps - the state was demolishing movable, recently occupied, historic homes through the fall and winter, getting far out ahead of the financing, as noted by a UMC Board consultant.  But not all of it will be demolished by the end of April, that's for sure.  The state said it was going to move houses off the site, and that has yet to happen.  Really, it's good that the Governor corrected himself after saying that all demolition will be done by April.  There are still some major legal issues to deal with - and some big time parties, like OPSB and the Blood Center.

4.  They can start construction today - Really?  Wouldn't that jeopardize the critical HUD funding?  Aren't houses being moved off the site first?  What about the fact that streets necessary for completing the project have not yet been revoked by the city?  It's important to note that the WWLTV shots of construction that served as part of the story were shots from the VA Footprint - not the UMC Footprint, where things are on hold.

5.  They continue to buy properties - And expropriate them.  Just remember that.  Bobby Jindal has some issues when it comes to respecting property rights.  Never once did he mention that the state is using its power of eminent domain to take private property, despite the alternate sites that were and are available.  I hope he talks to the small business owners of the Canal Street Guest House, for example, who are being driven out to make way for the project.

Overall, I would have hoped for far more searching follow up questions from Mr. Paulsen.  The only positive was the Governor's mention of working with the city to save McDonogh No. 11, which would be good.  I'm genuinely glad that the state recognizes the building's importance.  But, as I've laid out here earlier, it's premature to talk of moving the building when the money is not in hand.  And when it may cost less to change the design and incorporate the building...than to move it.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

UMC Board Meetings

Here are the 2011 dates for the remaining University Medical Center Management Coroporation Board meetings. 

The UMC Board is set to oversee the hospital that is proposed for what is known colloquially as the LSU Footprint.  It is also seeking the additional funding necessary for the project.

Public comment is permitted, but a speaker must sign in 30 minutes prior to the meetings.

Banks and S. Rocheblave

Here's how the intersection looked today.  A small guard shed or something along those lines has been set up inside the fencing around Dixie Brewery.  The brown brick warehouse-type structure visible here will not be retained by the VA.  The only portion VA hopes to retain and reuse is the tall, red brick portion, the greater "tower" part of the building.


The "For Sale" sign once on the Orleans House mansion at 1800 Canal is no longer visible on the building.

The business next to it is now gone as well, yellow signs posted on the windows.

WDSU on possible McDonogh No. 11 Move


Things were otherwise rather quiet in the LSU Footprint today.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Tulanian Story on House Moving


There are also stories in the publication about the S.W. Green Mansion, as well as some Lower Mid-City photography by Stephen Hilger.

AP Picks up McDonogh No. 11 Story

Here's how the blurb appeared in CityBusiness.

Now Boarding

Lately, more and more houses are getting boarded in the LSU Footprint - houses that were occupied when I started walking the footprint (and were still lived in until recently).

As of late, I've been hearing that approximately 15 houses may still get moved off the site by official parties.  The number keeps falling, but moving any historic houses off the site would still be a positive.

Any private parties should get in touch to inquire about working with the demolition and site preparation contractors to remove additional houses.

Friday, March 18, 2011

State Responds on Request to Save McDonogh No. 11

The state, in response to a letter from City Council Members, suggests moving the building.

While I'm glad that the state now recognizes the building's significance, I think it's premature to talk about moving the building at this point - when the funding for the proposed hospital still is not in hand.  And the streets in the LSU Footprint have yet to be revoked.

It also looks like moving might be a way for the state to wriggle out of its legal issues with the Orleans Parish School Board - since that entity is still seeking over $20 million more in replacement costs than the state is offering for the property.

I'm glad the situation is fluid once more - there's a greater chance the buildling won't be demolished than ever before.  But it would be shortsighted to agree to moving the building at this point. 

Someone needs to ask whether redesigning portions of the proposed medical complex to incorporate the school would cost less than moving the building.  If that's the case, then the building should stay put, and an adaptive reuse program should be investigated.  And design is still in issue because of HUD's concerns with the project - and HUD's FHA mortgage insurance remains the essential piece in the funding puzzle.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

WWLTV - Video of Blood Center's Objections to UMC

Blood Center on state's UMC plan: "I guess I find it somewhat ridiculous”

This issue involving the Blood Center, one of the largest occupants of the LSU Footprint, is even fishier, as pointed out in a WWLTV piece:

In the meantime, the state says it has gotten two appraisals on the Blood Center properties and made an offer based on "the higher of the two appraisals."

But Weales said this is where the disagreement over the value of the Blood Center's properties becomes curious. He said the state refuses to show him its appraisals.

“Which I find somewhat appalling,” he said. “I guess I'm wondering what are they trying to hide from me at this point?”

We have asked spokesman Michael DiResto why the Division of Administration has refused to provide a copy of its appraisal. He said, "We do not give out copies of appraisals to any property owners..."

The Blood Center has bought a building in the 2600 block of Canal Street and the land behind it for the new Blood Center. But since the teaching hospital will be one of its biggest clients, Weales argues it makes more sense for the Blood Center to stay where it is right now.

“Being the fact that we are a biomedical company and we are the provider of blood and blood components to the Medical Center of Louisiana,” Weales said, “it makes perfect sense for us to be in the middle of the biomedical corridor.”

Mr. Weales was asking all the right questions and making all the right observations.  In fact, I'd go so far as to say that he was on fire:

And Weales says to take a look at the footprint for the new hospital. It shows the property that the Blood Center now occupies on the corner of the campus will be green space.

“So I'm really curious as to why they need this property,” Weales said.

At a time when the state has a budget crisis and when it still doesn't have hundreds of millions of dollars lined up to finance the new hospital, Weales argues it makes no sense to pay millions of dollars -- whatever the final price -- to build green space around the new hospital.

“Absolutely not,” Weales said. “Not only that they have yet to be able to completely finance this project.”

Fishy [Updated]

A pre-bid conference will be held today at the Jacobs trailer on Palmyra Street in the LSU Footprint, per this notice in yesterday's Times-Picayune.

Interestingly, it calls for bids for the demolition of the "Pallas Hotel" - no, that's not a Greek hotel somewhere out there. It's a reference to what was most recently the Grand Palace Hotel, the giant building at S. Claiborne and Canal which, instead of being repurposed, is being torn down.

I'll let you decide why the address was not listed...****UPDATED: See note below.

And hopefully someone else can determine whether the notice was adequate.

And the sheer amount of tons that will have to be torn down and carted away...makes me wonder all the more about how contracts for all the debris played into the selection of the hospital sites.

I'll also note that at a recent meeting with New Orleans members of Save Our Cemeteries, there are still some very serious concerns about the potential vibration impacts on the fragile, historic St. Louis #2 Cemetery, which starts just over one block away from the Grand Palace Hotel.

ADDED: The building was called the "Pallas Suited Hotel" back in the 1980s.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Change Along Tulane Avenue

About a week ago, I caught a geyser spraying up from a punctured pipe along Tulane Avenue near the Dixie Brewery.

Today, I observered contractors putting in cement sidewalk and curbing across what used to be S. Tonti Street at the point that it diverged off Tulane Avenue just before the brewery.

This evening, a representative from the VA noted that the VA now has possession of the Dixie Brewery - which constitutes the "access" that kicks off a 120-day period in which the VA must secure the building and assess it for structural stability.  Only the tall red brick portion of the brewery will be retained for adaptive reuse if all goes well - not the flanking, lower portions that are largely wooden.

Moved House Rehab - A Step Forward

This bid request notice appeared in today's Times-Picayune.

Multiple Meetings Tonight

1.  The monthly VA neighborhood meeting, as fleshed out in a note from Derrick Morrison of the Committee to Reopen Charity:

The monthly VA project meeting takes place Tuesday, Mar 15, 6pm, at the Pentecostal Church, corner of Canal and N. Dorgenois.

At the Mar 10 meeting of Cleveland Ave area residents--the first with Wes Bayas, the community liaison from the Mayor's office--it was decided to bring the concerns of the neighborhood to this VA project meeting. City officials are beginning to respond to some of those concerns--routing trucks for the VA/LSU project away from the Cleveland Ave area. Questions about dust, dirt, and housing repairs were also raised at the Mar 10 meeting. Brenda Breaux from the City Attorney's office fielded some of those questions.
So, residents and supporters of the Cleveland Ave area are urged to attend the Mar 15 meeting, this Tuesday, 6pm, Pentecostal Church, corner of N. Dorgenois and Canal.

2.  State Senator Karen Carter Peterson - Townhall Meetings

Senator Peterson, the chief legislative proponent of BioDistrict New Orleans, is holding a series of townhall meetings this week.  I attended the first one last evening, and I think it's important to make the Senator aware of the various concerns with the BioDistrict to try to improve/limit the overall end product.  Specifically, it is worth pushing for a legislative re-draw of the boundaries (to make the district smaller) and for elected, local, neighborhood represntation on the board that oversees an area occupied by thousands of residents.  These are two of the top concerns that many people have been pushing for at BioDistrict planning meetings since about September 2010.

Tuesday, March 15 - Central City - Dryades YMCA - 1746 Jackson Ave. - 5:30 p.m.

Wednesday, March 16 - Broadmoor - Andrew Wilson School - 3617 Gen. Pershing - 6 p.m.

Thursday, March 17 - Carrollton - St. Matthews - 1337 S. Carrollton - 6 p.m.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Inside McDonogh No. 11 School

A group of us visited the inside of the building with permission from the Orleans Parish School Board, the building's current owner.  Charity Hospital's central massif is visible from one of the arched windows of the 1879 building.  The school  building is still slated for demolition, although a groundswell of public support is underway.  In the foreground, the vacant lots left from the demolition of four historic buildings stretch out along Palmyra Street in the LSU Footprint.

A globe, split down the equator, sits alone amidst the shiny wooden floors of a well-lighted classroom on the third floor of McDonogh No. 11.  The school was abandoned in December 2010 when students were forced to relocate to modular units out on Almonaster Avenue.  The building, despite its age, is structurally sound. 

Until today, I did not know that the building has multiple skylights that light the upper portions of the large interior stairwells.

The ground floor, a sort of raised basement space, was naturally cool even on this warm afternoon.  One room in the rear had an eerie red cast to it - a "bordello" feel as one member of the group quipped.  Remnants from the building's earlier use as a school were strewn here and there.

Backed by cast-iron piers, a series of original dividers also split some of the groundfloor spaces, but permitted expansion as needed.

Various snippets of student ephemera could still be seen on the boards - like the words above (the medical reference comes from the fact that prior to Katrina, McDonogh No. 11 served as the New Orleans Center for Health Careers).

Behind the building, adjoining the schoolyard, the old infirmary stood empty.

The visit only reinforced what I've believe all along - McDonogh No. 11 is worth saving.  It can and should be incoporated into the proposed UMC hospital complex.  The site consists of 37 acres - surely there's a way to work it in.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Property Acquisition Surges in LSU Footprint

The LSU Board of Supervisors continued expropriations in the LSU Footprint in February and March (records show two parcels were expropriated on March 1, 2011). 

Transfers of parcels increased in February after a long lull, due in part to the title records crisis at CDC.

The LSU Board and "Division of Administration Office of the Governor" paid the following prices for properties (it's not clear if these were expropriations or mere sales), according to a listing of transfers between Feb. 17-23:

1905-07 Cleveland Avenue - $198,260

2024 Cleveland Avenue - $164,000

2038-40 Cleveland Avenue - $120,000

1827 Palmyra Street - $138,000

1915-17 Palmyra Street - $200,000

2127 Palmyra Street - $171,800

1809 Tulane Avenue - $65,000

Friday, March 11, 2011

Notes on Dixie Brewery Expropriation

I managed to stop by Civil District Court briefly this morning, and I found the following in the clerk's office:

Dixie Brewery Co. filed suit against the LSU Board of Supervisors on February 16, 2011 seeking declaratory judgment. 

On February 25, 2011, the LSU Board of Supervisors filed for expropriation against Dixie.  Luke F. Piontek is listed as counsel for LSU in the matter, 1515 Poydras Street, Suite 2330, (225) 929-7033.

Thus, the question remains about whether the VA has determined the building to be structurally sound now that several weeks have elapsed since expropriation - and since the building remains fenced off.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

If you live in Louisiana

Contact your state senator or state representative and ask for a public letter of support indicating the legislator's desire to save McDonogh No. 11 School from demolition.  It should instead be incorporated into the 37-acre hospital complex and adatively reused.

Find your State Senator here.

Find your State Representative here.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Update on the VA Hospital Footprint

A few notes to catch you up:

+ Late last week, the final three houses were moved off the VA Hospital Footprint.  The site has been entirely cleared except for those structures that will remain as part of the medical center complex (unless the Dixie Brewery tower is found to be not structurally sound, I suppose).

+ The Dixie Brewery has been fenced for some time now.  From what I know, the building was actually expropriated by the LSU Board of Supervisors over a week ago on Friday, February 25.  I'm still trying to confirm that fact.  But it appears to coincide with the fencing, and it would mean that the VA can now begin to assess the structure for stability - which will ultimately determine the fate of the iconic building.  I'm not certain of the legal status of the property in part because the owners apparently filed a legal motion pre-emptively before the state expropriated.

+ The S.W. Green Mansion has been shifted into its final position, twisting a bit from the diagonal position it had when if first moved across S. Rocheblave.  It fits!  And it looks rather nice standing amidst the live oaks.

+ Parts of Banks Street have been torn up above S. Rocheblave Street.  How much more will go?  I hope this only part of temporary work on the intersection. 

As with so many aspects of the LSU/VA hospitals project, nobody from the developing parties has reached out to explain what's going on.  I cannot think of a single time in the past two years that the developing parties have reached out proactively to this blog to provide factual information and defuse potential criticism.  It's been a major failing of the project - an inability or unwillingness to engage with online media.

+ Additionally, the 2500 and 2600 blocks of Cleveland Avenue appear to be completed, at long last - at least four months after construction started.

+ The lakeside lane of S. Galvez Street is finally open in full again after being closed since about last summer.  The lane was closed at Canal for the past several months despite the lack of any real impediments to traffic.

Coming Along

Two moved houses along the future Lafitte Greenway corridor recently had their roofs reconstructed.  Both are on St. Louis Street, facing downriver.

The two homes, among the earliest moves off the VA Footprint, were both formerly on Palmyra Street.

Mardi Gras Day in Treme

As I trekked through Treme yesterday, en route to the tail end of the Zulu Parade on Basin Street, I saw the destination lots of two of the final moved homes from the VA Footprint.  The little purple house above, once in the 2400 block of Cleveland Avenue, looks like it will fit right in with the varied streetscape.

Down the street, however, the former home of Deborah Brown-Cassine was sticking out like a bit of a sore thumb near The Candlelight lounge as Mardi Gras Indians headed over toward the Bridge.  Sans camelback hump and without even its distinctive perpendicular front porch roof, the building barely fits on the lot that it was placed on.  I hope a way can be found to minimize the intrusiveness and reinvigorate the building as its rehabilitated.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Happy Mardi Gras

From Inside the Footprint. 

Posting may be a bit slow here until Wednesday when the weekend's wound down.

Why fighting to incorporate McDonogh No. 11 School makes sense at this point

The current UMC design, which Jerry Jones said was "final" is anything but final.  In fact, the entire design is pretty much back on the table:

But Dr. Fred Cerise, LSU’s vice president for health affairs, said the back-and-forth has not yet resulted in changing the size and scope of the medical complex now projected at 424-beds.

Size and scope – the number of beds and what services the hospital will offer – is a primary component of UMC’s projected revenues and expenses, which, in turn, are at the crux of the board’s request that the Federal Housing Administration back a planned $400 million bond sale. That money is necessary to complete to the projected $1.2 billion construction budget.

At a recent UMC board meeting, UMC consultants confirmed FHA analysts had flagged “size and scope” among several broad issues with their “pre-application” for mortgage insurance. Cerise said this week that details about size and scope aren’t likely to change until the consultants complete a more thorough financial feasibility study in advance of submitting a final application to FHA, a division of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

"This management corporation has no money."

That interesting quote was uttered yesterday at the UMC Board Meeting (or UMCMC, University Medical Center Management Corporation). 

Much of the meeting featured somewhat pedantic input from a national consultant, whose appearance was funded by LSU, about different types of hospital arrangements. 

The continued discussion about what type of hospital to put on the site at this point in the game begs some huge questions.  For example, why have the state and its contractors expropriated and demolished property in a national historic district when they don't even know what type of hospital is going to be built?

Adequate financing, too, is still not in hand.

When the consultant showed a flowchart-type diagram of his understanding of the hospital arrangement for the complex proposed for the LSU Footprint, the audience literally chuckled out loud at the complexity of the image:

There is also clearly some simmering tension under the surface between LSU and several of the other schools with seats on the board.  As one board member noted, nothing beyond placement on the board has really been worked out amongst all the component schools.  And another board member noted that the design has "a number of barriers" - it's unclear how all the players will play together and how funds will be exchanged.

Other slides outlined the challenges in reduced federal funding starting in 2014 will complicate things for teaching hospitals.  It was made clear, yet again, that nobody really knows how the changes from Obamacare will impact hospitals, especially a hospital that is still very much in the planning stages.

And still, as one member of the UMCMC Board noted, as if it somehow made everything okay, "We got geniuses in the room."

Creep - more damage to Banks Street?

With many city residents already upset at the loss of Banks Street in the VA Footprint, I was surprised to see the destruction of the street creeping above and outside of the VA Footprint on Wednesday evening.

As the shot above shows, equipment was pounding holes in and essentially rendering the street unusable, as well as a part of the neutral ground above what used to be S. Rocheblave.  It was not possible to turn around at that intersection as of the other evening.

"Banksy" Building Demolished in LSU Footprint

The building at the corner of Cleveland Avenue and S. Derbigny, which once sported the Abe Lincoln graffiti by the artist Banksy, was demolished in the past few days...yet another demolition in the LSU Footprint.

Nearby, crews continued site preparation at the corner of Cleveland Avenue and S. Claiborne, where parcels were cleared.

Underway after delay

This house, formerly on Cleveland Avenue, was under reconstruction on Orleans Avenue.  Some pointed out that a house in similar condition was demolished to make way for the replacement moved house.  At any rate, it's good to see the property coming back online across from the construction that's finally getting underway for the lower portion of the Lafitte Redevelopment.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

In the past 24 hours or so


1.  The S.W. Green Mansion rolled across S. Rocheblave to its lots at Banks and S. Rocheblave.  It's barely going to fit.  It's situated on an angle, and it will have its back toward the VA hospital.

Across the way, the pavement about 15-20 feet up Banks from the former intersection of S. Rocheblave had been intentionally pounded by machinery and broken up - how much more of Banks is going to be removed?  It's no longer possible to turn around at Banks and S. Rocheblave.  Due to the neutral ground, one can go no further than S. Dorgenois.

2.  Stephen Hilger presented some photos of Lower Mid-City to a large crowd at Tulane in the afternoon - and noted that he's putting together a book.

3.  Two of the final three houses on the VA Footprint were moved to the corner of S. Galvez and Canal, down from their locations on Cleveland Avenue.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


A sparrow perches atop a pile of rubble - street signs, live oak roots and branches, coffee cups, an old ladder - in the nearly cleared VA Hospital Footprint in Lower Mid-City, New Orleans.  The 30-acre site, located entirely in a National Register Historic District, was home to hundreds of structures, including approximately 120 structures eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.  While approximately 75 structures were moved off the site and a few buildings are being incorporated, scores of buildings, many of them occupied until 2010, were demolished.  The hospital complex design calls for a mid-rise structure only a handful of stories high. 

McDonogh No. 11 on TV

Gina Swanson from WDSU heads into the LSU Footprint to share more information about the fight to save the historic school.

Poll: Should a historic school building be torn down for new hospital?

Poll: Should a historic school building be torn down for new hospital?

This is the direct link to the Times-Picayune poll. Selecting the first or third options shows support for avoiding the demolition of McDonogh No. 11 School.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011 runs story on effort to save McDonogh No. 11

It focuses on the letters of support from City Council Members.  There's even a poll - go vote for the top option.

Work Resumes on Moved Houses on Bienville

As of yesterday afternoon, work appeared to have resumed on the moved VA Footprint houses that now reside in the "Bienville Cluster" around Bienville and S. Derbigny near Two Sisters Restaurant.  It's my understanding that the lots are owned by Providence Community Housing, an arm of Catholic Charities in New Orleans.

Today, crews from LA's Best were at work again on a number of the houses, which were among the earliest moved off the VA site.  A worker told me the buildings are being cleaned out inside and the roofs, already partially restored on the buildings months ago, are being shingled and completed.

Here's a closer look at the subcontractor signage that appeared on all of the houses in the cluster (zoom in for more details):

The clustered buildings sit on what once was a school site.  The old base of a former flagpole still marks the spot: