Louisiana’s Most Endangered Historic Sites: These 11 Places Must Be Preserved, Group Says | Environment


According to an annual list released this week by the Louisiana Trust for Historic Preservation (LTHP), Orleans Parish Holy Cross School, St. James Parish burial sites and Lincoln Parish Internment Camp. during World War II are some of Louisiana’s most important and vulnerable sites. .

“If something is not done, these sites will not be there in 5 to 10 years,” said LTHP executive director Brian Davis.

A statewide preservation coalition, the LTHP was launched in 1979 and has solicited nominations for its annual collection of Louisiana Endangered Places since 1999. Since then, approximately 150 places have been placed on the Most Important Places list. most threatened of Louisiana. Some, like the 7th Ward’s Circle Food Store and the Miller-Roy Building in Monroe, have been restored and released for public use.

With packed grocery aisles, filled bins and new murals high on the walls, Circle Food Market quietly opened its doors last week.

“About a third of the places are not on the endangered list because they have been rehabilitated,” Davis said. “Looking at the list shows how diverse our culture is. From Native American to African American to Creole (cultural sites), you name it, we have something on this list.”

The purpose of the list is to educate the public and help raise funds through grants, donations, and state and federal tax credits for the preservation of these buildings. While their hidden nature and little-known stories may entice the general public to explore the sites, Davis advises against in-person tours.

“We don’t encourage people to visit the sites because many could be unsafe and on private property,” Davis said.

The LTHP accepts nominations for the list of most endangered places each year. A review committee narrows the list and the LTHP makes final selections based on the sites’ vulnerability, their historical significance, and their potential to have a positive impact.

“We’re here to help see buildings and owners get what they need to help them get back into the community,” Davis said. “We are surprised every year by the nominations. So much has been lost to demolition, neglect, hurricanes, fires – having something tangible helps us learn from our collective history and understand the people whose lives were tied to this building in the past.

Designate an endangered Louisiana site here and read on to see this year’s list.

1. Buena Vista and Acadia Plantation Cemeteries (St. James, St. James Parish)

Located in sugar cane fields on old plantations near River Road, these two cemeteries contain the remains of slaves. Opposition from the Corps of Engineers delayed construction of a $ 9.4 billion plastic complex there, and its proposal also raised concerns of environmental racism from the United Nations.

2. Holy Cross School (Lower 9th Ward, New Orleans)

Holy Cross School

Holy Cross School has been abandoned since 2005, when Hurricane Katrina and federal dike failures flooded the Lower 9th Borough. Architect James Freret designed the boarding school and day school in 1895.

3. Columbia Free Methodist Church (Columbia, Caldwell Parish)

Columbia Free Methodist Church

The descriptor “free” alludes to three practices of this church around 1948: it was anti-slavery; he did not rent out benches to families (a common practice at the time) and this represented a break with the Methodist Episcopal Church. The concrete block structure remained empty for 20 years.

4. Ruston POW Camp Buildings (Ruston, Lincoln Parish)

Camp Ruston POW Buildings (Ruston, Lincoln Parish)

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This 750-acre camp housed 4,315 prisoners of war, mostly Nazi Germans from Erwin Rommel’s Afrika Korps, at its peak in 1943. In 1947, prison workers from Angola transformed the complex into a sanatorium for the tuberculosis, and today it is part of Grambling State University.

5. Kerner House (Gretna, Jefferson Parish)

Kerner House (Gretna, Jefferson Parish)

Vegetation covers this Greek Revival and Italian style cottage around 1840, located in a historic district. German indentured servant and butcher Charles Kerner built the elevated house after earning enough money to buy his freedom. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the structure is a victim of rot and termites.

6. Mary & JW Thomas House (Natchitoches, Natchitoches Parish)

Mary & JW Thomas House (Natchitoches, Natchitoches Parish)

Black educator JW Thomas lived in this cottage in the early 1900s, when he opened the Lincoln Institute and taught at the school for black youth. “He was a proponent of educating the African American community when it was not provided by the school board at the time,” Davis said.

7. Sainte-Marie Chapel (Union, Saint-James parish)

Sainte-Marie Chapel (Union, Saint-James parish)

The sugar maker, architect and civil war veteran Louis Chauvin II built this neo-Gothic church in 1875 on one of the first Acadian landings. The Leaky Cypress Church has not hosted a service since 1998.

8. Frank Young House (Franklin, St. Mary’s Parish)

Frank Young House (Franklin, St. Mary's Parish)

Frank Young, grandfather of civil rights leader and politician Andrew Young Jr., lived in this Queen Anne cottage around 1900 and was an advocate and advocate for education and health care for his black community.

9. Franklin Lodge No. 57 F&AM (Franklin, St. Mary’s Parish)

Franklin Lodge No. 57 F&AM (Franklin, St. Mary's Parish)

Transom windows, a crenellated parapet, recessed panels with a basketweave brick pattern, corbel, and square and compass iconography are some notable features of this circa 1895 Masonic temple, which is vacant on Franklin Main Street.

10. Husser school and community center (Husser, Tangipahoa parish)

Husser school and community center (Husser, Tangipahoa parish)

This century-old pine school held classes until 1942 and served as a community center until the 1980s. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

11. Gueydan Museum & Cultural Arts Society (Gueydan, Vermilion Parish)

Gueydan Museum & Cultural Arts Society (Gueydan, Vermillion Parish)

Built in 1902 by the Bank of Gueydan, this neo-Romanesque building has also housed the Southern Bell Phone Company, a Masonic Lodge, medical offices and, more recently, a museum. The 2020 hurricane season has taken its toll on the building and fundraising by the Gueydan Museum & Cultural Arts Society is underway.

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