For 40 years, the Foundation for Historical Louisiana has been recognizing the efforts of folks dedicated to preserving the state's architectural and cultural treasures. Last week, we gathered at LSU's French House for a very special evening honoring some very special people.
Bricks & Mortar awards went to the Louisiana Realtors Association for its renovation of the Cangelosi House as its headquarters and to Debbie and Mark Hudson for their renovation of the former McMahon House into The Grand Lady apartments. The Hudsons worked with architect Buddy Ragland to transform the 1905 house which had sat vacant for 30 years. It's now on the National Historic Register — the last Victorian house in downtown Baton Rouge.
Preservation Awards went to George Marks, founder of the NuNu Arts & Creative Collective in Arnaudville; Sue G. Hebert, for her lifetime of work as a preservation leader in Iberville Parish; and the Louis S. McGhee School for Girls in New Orleans.
Marks received his award from Phil Bogan, assistant secretary for the Louisiana Office of Culture Recreation & Tourism, who pointed out that the arts are a $20 billion industry in this state. Hebert, nominated by daughter Christine, took us all down memory lane as she shared stories from her early days as a preservationist, working with Sue Turner. Sharing the rich history of the McGhee School, which is comprised of 10 renovated buildings on an entire city block in the historic Garden District, were headmistress Eileen Powers and architect Harvey Burns.
The French House, which serves as home to LSU's Ogden Honors College, received the foundation's inaugural Preservation Legacy Award. FHL board president Mark Upton, who served as the evening's emcee, shared how he and friends used to sneak into the then-vacant house as students in the early ’70s. Lillie Petit Gallagher shared with several of us that she lived at the French House when she was a student, even taking us to see her old dorm room — a tour that delighted Honors College Dean Jonathan Earle. Recognized for its efforts in the latest renovation project at the French House was the architectural firm of Tipton Associates, represented by Lori Prochaska.
For her tireless efforts at the foundation's headquarters at the Old Governor's Mansion Linda Dawkins received this year's Volunteer of the Year Award from FHL Executive Director Fairleigh Jackson and board member Claire Major. Jackson also thanked staff members Angela deGravelles, Selena Grant, Natalie Mault and Allie Wester for making her first year at the foundation's helm a little easier.
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Those who have stepped up to the plate since the historic flood last month are too numerous to mention, even if we could name them all. However, we have to give a shout-out to the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge and a dedicated group of artist volunteers who provided respite and entertainment for the thousands of people housed in area shelters.
So, thanks guys for bringing a little sunshine to some very cloudy days — Delia Al-Hadi, Elisabeth Altazan, Jason Andreasen, Morgan Bell, Chris Bello, Dana Bennett, Annette Bernardi, Marion Bienvenu, Charlston Bourgeois, Betsy Braud, Suzannah Burke, Danielle Burns, Anika Butler, Jessica Chappuis, Katie Charbonneau, Miriam Clifton, Rachel Daigre, Desirée Dallagiacomo, Stan Dark, Dee Davis, Jean Paul Delahoussaye, Juliette Desilva, Kaia Duke, Larissa Elliott, Isis English, Scott Finch, Jasmine Evans, Hope Fiske, Aniya Foley, Nekeia Francois and Ian Frazier.
Also, Sabrina Freese, Christine Garcia, Zenia Silca Gascq, Sheldon Gilton, Becky Gottsegen, Quiana Green, Jill Hackney, Marryellyn Hale, Hannah Harrison, Rodneyna Hart, Neal Hebert, Mar'lesha Hollins, Sam Irwin, Darin Jones, Mariel Jones, James Kane, Neena Kelfstrom, Saher Kahn, Brittany Knoop, Karen Koprowski, Jack Lampert, Stephanie Laws, Heather Ledoux, Chris Kat Lee, Jacob Leis, Gabrielle Lewis, Kelsey Lineburg, Jessica Logan, Skylar Matusky, Denise Mercil, Ty'eisha McCaleb and Johnny Midnight.
Also, Scott Miller, Jonathon Morris, Shedrick Nellon, Susan Nourse, Brian Peterson, Sharbreon Plummer, Cristin Ponjuan, Jorge Punjuan, Lisa Roberts, Ruth Roland, Christina Root Vazquet, Donney Rose, Shonneysha Sallis, Amber Sandifer, Patricia Saye, Babeth Schlegel, Chancelier Skidmore, Jacob Stansbury, Ruby Stern, Taylor Stoma, Elizabeth Thomas, Wil Thomas, Noelle Tollett, Grace Trocano, Shannon Walse, Lori Wells, Celeste West, James West and Mercedes Wilson.