The owners of the properties listed below were denied a demolition permit by the Neighborhood Conservation District Committee and have now taken their case to the City Council. The hearing for these demolitions will take place at the City Council meeting on May 6th. If you have a position on any of these proposed demolitions, please email the Councilmember in which the property is located.
We’ve been receiving a lot of inquiries and searches from people interested in learning more about the Treme neighborhood and wanted to answer those requests with some history about the area. Please feel free to ask questions or give input in the comment area and we’ll answer them as best we can!
Excerpted from Living with History, downloadable here.
Treme retains the feel of an old Creole New Orleans neighborhood. Second line parades and jazz funerals are still common, while several neighborhood bars are gathering places for musicians. Its architectural integrity and African-American heritage has drawn new residents from all over the country. As the same time, many Treme families proudly trace their heritage in the neighborhood back for and five generations. many old-timers can remember the days when musicians informally jammed on neighborhood stoops or around the woodsheds in the evenings.
Treme has been a multicultral, cosmopolitan community from its beginning. Immigrants and people of color were among the earlist residents here and refugees from San Domingue, both black and white, who flooded into the city between 1790 and 1810, swelled their numbers. Treme emerged as a center of African-American power in the mid 19th century when Rodolphe Desdunes, Thomy Lafon, and other free blacks who organized opposition to slavery and restrictive race laws lived here. The same figures endowed educational facilities, orphanages and religious institutions to serve people of color.
Treme was formally established as a neighborhood of New Orleans in 1810, but people had been settling along the high ridge of the Bayou Road from lake Pontchartrain to the gates of the city long before that. The first improvement here, in about 1721, was a brickyard established by Company of the Indies’ employee Charles de Morand, who later added a tile works, or tuilerie, on the same grant. By the 1790s, de Morand’s plantaiton just beyond the bayou gate was in the hands of Claude Treme, who developed part of his land into streets and began selling lots in 1798. The city purchased the 40-acre development in 1810 and formally annexed it in 1812.
The Morand-Treme plantation house became the home of the College d’Orleans, then the main building of the Carmelite Convent. Its demolition in 1927 marks the loss of one of New Orleans’ most important historic buildings.
A Treme Timeline:
(scroll left and right to view more events)
This program has helped me in ways I cannot imagine. It let me find my true passion, which is art, and it shocked me. It also made me a better person and helped me appreciate my city surroundings and myself. This program is the best thing that ever happened to me and I am over-excited that I am a part of it. Thanks to everyone involved”.
– Malcolm Harding, Carpenter
A year ago England’s Prince of Wales Foundation conceived of a program to “deliver the skills urgently needed to regenerate and rebuild New Orleans and the Louisiana Gulf Coast, preserve the unique architecture of the region as well as ultimately helping the populations most affected by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans: the urban poor.”
The intensive five month course began in October 2009 with 21 apprentices from the New Orleans area and focused on issues particular to the region. The chosen students were already experienced in their respective fields and were given the opportunity to hone their skills and work beside master craftsmen, first here in New Orleans before travelling to England to see and work on historic sites there.
Apprentice J.R. Portman created a blog to highlight their experiences in London. Please take a moment to visit the site and view the dozens of amazing photos of the city, apprentices and their work.
The PRC would like to thank the other program partners for their involvement, without whom the project could not have come to fruition:
Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment
Joseph C. Canizaro (Columbus Properties L.P.)
Louisiana Recovery Authority
Louisiana Workforce Commission
Louisiana Carpenters Regional Council Apprenticeship & Training Center
Delgado Community College
Louisiana Technical College
these tough economic times, everyone understands the necessity of budget cuts, but we need to be careful not to do long-term damage in exchange for short-term savings. National Trust for Historic Preservation President Richard Moe calls Save America’s Treasures “the country’s most significant preservation effort in over 40 years,” and the proposed 2011 budget has provided no money for funding, effectively shutting the program down for the foreseeable future.
Save America’s Treasures is the nation’s only bricks-and-mortar grant program and is one of the federal government’s most successful tools for preserving the places that tell America’s story. Over the past 10 years, Save America’s Treasures has worked to restore more than 1,100 structures and collections in every state in the nation, including $2.8 million in funding to Louisiana for projects ranging from cemetery stabilization to preserving historic Fort Pike and restoring the Grand Opera House of the South.
Nationally, Save America’s Treasures’ collection includes such iconic objects as the Star Spangled Banner and the Founding Fathers’ Papers, historically and architecturally significant structures, including the Acoma Pueblo, Lincoln Cottage, Taliesen, and the Conservatory of Flowers, as well as the autobiographical homes of Edith Wharton, Mark Twain, Louisa May Alcott, Harriet Tubman and Captain Frederick Pabst.
But saving these historic treasures is only one part of the program’s benefits. The Save America’s Treasures program required a one-to-one match, so that every federal dollar invested must be matched by one private dollar, successfully leveraging dollars from corporations, foundations and individuals in a prime example of a public-private partnership. There has been a push to create more of these types of partnerships, so why would you want to de-fund such a wonderful, working, proven example?
The program also contributes to the economy through job creation. It is estimated that Save America’s Treasures has added more than 16,000 jobs to state and local economies and given that these projects are typically 20-40 percent more labor intensive than new construction they employ a variety of craftspeople, not simply handymen. At a time when supporting sustainable communities and job creation are top priorities for Congress and the Administration, it is tragically shortsighted to overlook — or even cripple — the power and potential of historic preservation programs such as these.
Save America’s Treasures is an integral part of the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF), and elimination of the project would result in a 30 percent across-the-board cut to federal historic preservation. In fact the HPF has never been fully funded. Despite that it has an authorized annual budget of $150 million, it typically only receives one-third to one-half that amount, even though their funds come from Outer Continental Shelf oil leases, not taxpayer dollars.
Ultimately, Save America’s Treasures is a program that gives back far more than it receives, both to the economy and to our nation’s heritage. Please take a few moments to contact your representatives and tell them to fight to make preservation a priority. Click here to fill out a simple form that will look up your rep’s contact information and make it easy to let them know what you think.
The PRC was thrilled to hear that Katherine Saer Duncan was selected as Queen of Carnival this year. Katherine spent last summer interning at the PRC working on facade easements and quickly became a valued member of our staff before returning to the University of Virginia in the fall.
Katherine comes from a long line of Carnival royalty, and was excited and honored to be selected. From the Times-Picayune story announcing her selection:
Fat Tuesday always has been Katherine’s favorite day of Carnival season. Her earliest memories of Mardi Gras morning are of going to St. Charles Avenue for the Rex parade, dressed in a tiny clown costume that matched her mom’s.
“My dad rides a horse in the parade, and I would look for him,” she said. “He’d pick me up and let me ride for a little ways.”
Mardi Gras 2010 will be different from any other for her. She has friends and relatives here from UVA, from London, and from around the country, and she has spent the past week preparing to be queen. She has learned the proper way to walk, how to wave her scepter and how to do the queen’s curtsy.
“I’m more excited than nervous,” she said, exuberantly. “I don’t want it to end.”
The Good Morning America show came to town this week to showcase all the progress in the city and show off the city’s pride in our Saints team. Rebuilding Together participated in the interviews and giving the crew a tour of ongoing projects that the PRC is involved in.
GMA hasn’t put that interview online yet, however you can see another one of their showcase pieces, you can find it here, on their website.
The show went out live on Friday morning, and the producers put out a call for all brave and intrepid members of the Who Dat nation to come out to Jackson Square at 5:30 in the morning to show their pride. Once again Rebuilding Together rose to the challenge, showing their spirit in the early morning cold:
New Orleans Historic District Landmarks Commission
Thursday, February 11, 2010
City Council Chamber, City Hall
1300 Perdido St.
To share your opinion about the demolition of any of these properties, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We don’t often think about the bicycle’s impact on history; these days bike riding is simply a cost-effective, green way to get around the city, not a form of social revolution. Few people realize what a subversive thing bicycles were in the 1880s, changing people’s ideas of social, sexual and racial equality, modes of dress and inspiring the modernization of America’s streets and roadways.
Society’s urban & industrialization meant that people had more free time on their hands and many wanted to fill it with healthy exercise in the outdoors. Biking created the first opportunity for both sexes to enjoy together- an idea shocking to Victorian sensibilities. As the fad took hold across the United States, New Orleans jumped onto the bandwagon, forming the New Orleans Bicycle Club (NOBC) in 1880.
The NOBC’s evolution mirrored the changing times. Born first as a ‘gentleman’s club,’ they initially described themselves as “men of affairs of relatively high standing.” The less affluent were kept from membership by default, as they wouldn’t be likely to afford the expensive bicycles.
The NOBC promoted the sport by holding public events around the city (including a woman cyclist competing against horses at the Fairgrounds- she won 2 out of 3 races), and as the price of bikes came down more people bought equipment and began riding in the city. Smaller clubs catering to the middle class sprung up as the public was drawn to the sport.
Not everyone was a fan, however. Conservative groups disapproved of women riders, especially as the ladies started abandoning impractical hoop skirts and petticoats in favor of the comparatively racy pantaloons and divided skirts. Issues of race arose because the Northern cycling groups accepted applicants regardless of color, while the NOBC wasn’t ready to do that. Non-riding citizens thought the bikes a threat to public safety as riders careened around at a terrifying 10mph.
That last one was actually correct, though the danger was more to the riders than the public. Rough, unstable dirt and oyster roads caused many injuries and soon riders around the country began clamoring for proper paved roads. A national movement was begun and many of the first paved roads were installed because of these efforts.
Throughout all of these changes, the NOBC remained popular, outgrowing their facilities and contracting to build a new state of the art headquarters at the corner of Baronne and General Taylor Streets. The Times-Picayune of June 21, 1891 described the club and sport as follows:
The New Orleans Bicycle Club long ago wheeled into line as one of the crack clubs of gallant young men who will do all they can to encourage a manly sport and keep at it in a manly way.There are some old fat-heads who pretend to think it silly work riding a wheel because they do not ride themselves, and so they prate about bow legs and crook-spines with assinine ignorance of the wholesomeness and healthfulness, as well as pleasure, that a vigorous young fellow gets out of his wheel as he spins through the dew and delicious atmosphere of 5 o’clock of a June morning.
“There isn’t a gentleman’s club in town that has a better record than ours,” says (member Joseph Pennell). “You see, in the first place, it takes a might good, clean record as a gentleman to get a man into our club. In electing members we never forgot that they are to meet socially the ladies of our own families and that they must be worthy.”
The entire lower story is to be floored with Schillinger pavement, and one side will be devoted to a ten pin alley that will be perfect of its kind. Also down stairs there will be a billiard room, a gymnasium, a lavatory, bathroom, finely fitted up lockers and a big wheelroom.
Up stairs, on one side the hall will be a reading room and library, a private parlor and toilette-room for ladies and one or two committee rooms.
On the other side the hall will be a reception room and two parlors all connected by arches or folding doors and those in turn will give with folding doors upon the large assembly room that will cross the entire house. When these are thrown into one it will make one of the largest ballrooms of the south.
The whole, of course, is to be beautifully finished in native woods and tile and beautifully furnished.
Bicycles remained wildly popular until the 1920s when interest faded, eventually replaced by our love of the automobile. The NOBC disbanded, though it was resurrected in the 1960s.
Meanwhile, their headquarters had been converted into apartments over retail space before falling into disrepair. It was unoccupied in April of 2005 it was purchased for use as a warehouse.
The owner has now petitioned to demolish this building along with several others on the block but has not submitted a redevelopment plan.
What a busy time to be in New Orleans! Not only do we have the holidays and all the fun and craziness that entails, but Saints games that cannot be missed (Who Dat!) and Mardi Gras around the corner.
With everything going on, the election races can get shuffled to the side. To try to make things easier for everyone, we’ve complied a list of the major races and how you can best learn about each candidate.
Visit the list here: http://blog.prcno.org/candidates-for-public-office/
And we know that these things are subject to change; if you know of a new or revised website for any of the candidates, please let us know and we will update the list as soon as possible.
The Roosevelt New Orleans
Please R.S.V.P. by Thursday, October
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