The historic Algiers Courthouse on Morgan Street, home to small claims cases, tenant-landlord spats and weddings, is getting a $1.2 million makeover.
Renovations have begun and will wrap up this fall, city officials said Wednesday.
“This project has been a long time in coming,” Mayor Mitch Landrieu told onlookers in front of the courthouse steps near the Mississippi River.
Though the building was erected in 1896, it can trace its roots back 30 years earlier, when the former plantation home of the prominent Duverjé family served as the area’s courthouse until it was consumed by the Great Algiers Fire of 1895.
The Moorish-style courthouse that replaced the home of Barthelemi Duverjé was built the next year by John McNally, to a design by city engineers Linus Brown and Alonzo Bell.
Officially New Orleans’ 2nd City Court, the building is the third-oldest courthouse in continuous use in Louisiana.
City officials last spruced it up in 1984, though a nonprofit group called Friends of the Algiers Courthouse has led efforts since then to improve the property.
Within its walls, Judge E. “Teena” Anderson-Trahan, elected in 2012, hears civil lawsuits with claims up to $25,000, small claims suits up to $5,000, and evictions for residential and commercial properties that rent for up to $3,000 a month.
Darren Lombard serves as clerk of court, while Edwin Shorty Jr. is the constable.
Couples may also obtain marriage licenses and have wedding ceremonies at the historic building, which has become known in recent years for its slew of Valentine’s Day ceremonies.
Work to be done includes a new slate roof, new ornamental metal signage, repairs and replacement of wood decking in the courthouse’s east and west towers and upper floors, said Cedric Grant, who is executive director of the Sewerage & Water Board but also oversees all infrastructure projects for the Landrieu administration.
Almost $1.2 million in Federal Emergency Management Agency public assistance money, for public buildings affected by Hurricane Katrina and other natural disasters, will pay for the repairs.
Architects Linfield, Hunter and Junius Inc. designed the revamp. Dynamic Constructors is performing the work.
When complete, officials said, the renovation will join more than 180 capital projects the Landrieu administration has completed since 2010, a total investment of $330 million. Twenty-nine of those projects, totaling $40 million, have been in Algiers, they said.