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There’s Still Time to Move Historic Houses
This letter originally appeared as a letter to the editor in the 12/17/10 edition of The Times-Picayune.
The state of Louisiana and its contractors have continued to demolish historic buildings in the footprint of the proposed University Medical Center in lower Mid-City.
This is truly regrettable because a number of the houses, located in a national historic district, could have been moved off the site using the same process we’ve seen in the neighboring Veterans Affairs hospital footprint.
It’s also regrettable because the University Medical Center board has not obtained adequate financing for the planned hospital — and won’t for some time — and is nevertheless using LSU’s eminent domain power to acquire properties and bulldoze them.
Demolitions need to stop until a house moving plan can be finalized for the dozens of historic properties that remain in the UMC site.
In a site like the UMC footprint, house-moving should have been in the mix from the beginning. And the total number of parcels involved won’t be acquired for some time.
Sadly, a house-moving effort won’t necessarily save some of the architectural and cultural icons slated for demolition, like the 1879 McDonogh No. 11 School or Deutsches Haus. But such an effort would pull a small silver lining from the dark cloud that continues to hang over the residents of Lower Mid-City.
National Trust for Historic Preservation
New Orleans Field Office
Dec 19 2010