The Louisiana Landmarks Society put out its annual list of the most endangered historic New Orleans sites on Thursday, including everything from private homes to an old railroad building and the city’s entire riverfront.
The aim of the list is to raise public awareness about historic resources and rally public will to save them from oblivion.
“This is a serious list that identifies historic sites that are threatened and may be lost,” said R. Stephen Chauvin, the society’s first vice president and chairman of the selection committee. “The list alone won’t save these sites; only the community can do that.”
Landmarks Society Director Walter Gallas surprised the group gathered at the Pitot House on Moss Street for the list’s announcement by unveiling a new digital map, now live on the nonprofit’s website, that shows the location of every property included in the 10 lists issued since the inception of the New Orleans’ Nine program.
The nine sites on the 2015 list were chosen after a citywide call drew 27 nominations, including several from students enrolled in the master of preservation studies program at Tulane University’s School of Architecture. Four of the students’ nominations made the final list of nine.
An exhibit with images and background on each of the 2015 New Orleans’ Nine properties will be on view at the Pitot House, 1440 Moss St., from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.
The 2015 New Orleans’ Nine includes:
- Uptown: The former New Orleans and Carrollton Railroad Powerhouse, 403 Napoleon Ave.
Built in 1892 for the railroad, the masonry building was designed by prominent New Orleans architect Thomas Sully and represents Gilded Age commercial design. Structural issues and masonry failure put it at risk for demolition by neglect. The property is owned by the Regional Transit Authority.
- Eastern New Orleans: Fort Pike, 27100 Chef Menteur Highway.
Completed in 1826, Fort Pike on the Rigolets was built after the War of 1812 to protect New Orleans and the coast from invasion. It was decommissioned in 1890 after seeing action in the Seminole Wars, Mexican War and Civil War. Wave action, settlement and moisture issues threaten its structural stability. The Fort Pike State Historic Site is owned by the state, which closed it indefinitely in February because of budget cuts.
- Lower Garden District: 924 Euterpe St.
Built between 1860 and 1866, this Greek Revival double-galleried house exemplifies the architecture of the Lower Garden District. However, it has suffered from severe lack of maintenance since 1980, despite numerous fines levied by the Historic District Landmarks Commission.
- Uptown: 518 Eleonore St.
This circa-1860 galleried Creole cottage is an uncommon example of pre-Civil War architecture remaining in the Hurstville neighborhood. The current owner purchased it in November and has applied to demolish it to make way for a larger home. The Audubon Riverside Neighborhood Association opposes its demolition, saying its loss would hurt the character and architectural integrity of the neighborhood and would set a dangerous precedent. The City Council will decide the fate of the structure.
- Carrollton: Carrollton Courthouse, 701 S. Carrollton Ave.
Dating to 1855 and designed by renowned architect Henry Howard, the Carrollton Courthouse was originally built as the seat of government for Jefferson Parish before Carrollton was annexed by New Orleans in 1874. The Orleans Parish School Board owns the property and plans to auction it to the highest bidder. Demolition and inappropriate redevelopment are concerns. The Landmarks Society and several Carrollton neighborhood groups plan a forum at 6 p.m. June 16 at nearby St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church to discuss the future of the property.
- Esplanade Ridge: Marsoudet-Caruso House, 1519 Esplanade Ave.
Built in 1846, this center-hall American cottage was purchased in 2010 by St. Anna’s Episcopal Church. The church has struggled to raise the money needed to repair the masonry structure and convert it into a community center and home for the Treme youth choir.
- Mid-City: S.W. Green Mansion, 2501 Banks St.
This 1928 Craftsman-style mansion was designed by Weiss, Dreyfous & Seiferth for Smith Wendall Green, the son of a former slave. Green made his fortune in the grocery and insurance industries and was an international officer of the Colored Knights of Pythias. Green was largely responsible for the 1909 construction of the Pythian Temple, a historic building at 234 Loyola Ave. Originally located on South Miro Street, the 17-room home was moved out of the footprint of the new medical district to Banks Street to protect it from demolition. Years after the move, it remains in disrepair.
- The New Orleans riverfront, including the St. Thomas/Lower Garden District, Marigny, Bywater, Holy Cross and Algiers Point neighborhoods.
A provision of the city’s new comprehensive zoning ordinance, approved by the City Council over the objections of the Riverfront Alliance and other citizen groups, allows for buildings up to 80 feet tall along the riverfront, which borders low-slung, 19th-century neighborhoods. Citizens are concerned about the intrusions of scale, loss of the historic character of the riverfront and the impact on bordering neighborhoods if the new CZO is signed into law by Mayor Mitch Landrieu.
- Algiers: Touro Shakspeare Home, 2621 Gen. Meyer Ave.
Built in 1933 as a municipal almshouse, the Touro Shakspeare Home was designed by local architect William R. Burk and combines elements of both Neo-Classical Revival and Jacobethan Revival styles. Named for New Orleans philanthropist Judah Touro and former Mayor Joseph Shakspeare, the building features stepped parapets, a prominent front portico and diamond-patterned polychrome brickwork. The building served as a city-operated nursing home before Hurricane Katrina in 2005 but has been vacant and deteriorating since then. The city remains the owner.