BR.beauregardtown.adv HS 020.JPG

A historic marker identifying Beauregard Town fades into the shadows on East Boulevard near South Boulevard, Wednesday, June 23, 2021, in Baton Rouge, La.

My earliest impressions of what a Local Historic District designation for Beauregard Town would do for me is allow a governmental entity to make my decisions about the exterior of my home, subject to the expert opinion of a government bureaucrat. I’m 71 and have been a homeowner most of my life. Thank you, Preservation Commission, but I don’t need or want your help.

The local civic association’s leadership maintained their advocacy for a local historic district despite neighbors sharing how they too rejected this governmental interference and micromanagement.

Could Beauregard Town become Baton Rouge's third local historic district?

Still, the association persisted. Its eye was on the prize. Once named a local historic district, Beauregard Town properties would become subject to an existing local ordinance that permits the Preservation Commission to initiate actions that obligate property owners or their caretakers to make substantial repairs to their home. Failure to make these repairs in the time frame required by the commission could subject these residents to fines of $100/day. Those with scant resources to make repairs cannot survive this penalty.

Collin Lindrew, spokesperson for the Planning and Preservation Commissions, indicates if a person is unable to make repairs, his or her next option is to sell the property. As a last resort, the Preservation Commission can order demolition. “Fix it, sell it, or we’ll demolish” will not be a friendly letter in my neighbors’ mailboxes.

Members of the Beauregard Town Civic Association can deny 1,000 times that this is a gentrification effort, but that is what it is. No one can convince me that the creation of the Beauregard Town Local Historic District is not an attack based on socio-economic status and race. Some of the families of color have been in this neighborhood for generations. We moved into their neighborhood. This aggressive effort to move them out is deplorable.

SHIRLEY D. BOWLER

Writer/editor

Baton Rouge