As part of the efforts to mitigate the negative impact of the new Veteran’s Affairs Hospital on the Mid-City National Register District, the city of New Orleans hired R.C. Goodwin and Associates to determine what areas of Mid-City might benefit from local historic district (HDLC) protection.
R.C. Goodwin and Associates surveyed the Mid-City National Register District (roughly City Park to Derbigny Street and I-10 to Conti Street) and found that of 4,398 buildings, 3,997 of them contribute to the character of the District. In June 2010, a study was released that offered four possibilities— the entire National Register District, a small area of mostly Creole cottages outside the Mid-City Neighborhood’s boundaries, all the buildings fronting Canal Street from Derbigny Street to City Park, and a combination of the Creole cottages cluster and the proposed Canal Street district.
The Mid-City Neighborhood Organization (MCNO) then held an open neighborhood meeting to discuss this possibility and mailed a newsletter with an article about it to every household in Mid-City. Overall response to the proposal was far more in favor than against. The City Council then passed an ordinance to proceed with the necessary committee work to move forward. However, the project stalled in 2011 due to budgetary insufficiency.
HDLC status for Mid-City and other historic but unprotected areas of New Orleans is back under potential consideration for 2015. As was the case in 2011, final approval this time will require public hearings at the City Planning Commission and City Council, at which time citizens can offer their opinions.
How Will Local Historic District Status Affect Mid-City and its Properties?
With this protection, property owners can be cited and fined for demolition by neglect, and Mid-City would have a specially trained building inspector for blighted properties. Local historic designation also usually raises property values. Requests for demolition, new construction and historic rehabilitation would require plan approval from the HDLC to ensure they do not affect the property’s historic nature. The HDLC does not control minor aesthetics, such as paint colors.
What Is the Next Step?
A committee will evaluate the viability of the District based upon the study and make a recommendation for the final boundaries. This recommendation will then trigger City Planning Commission review, after which it will proceed to the City Council for evaluation. Success of this effort is contingent upon the City’s budget being able to fund the positions that will be required for proper administration and management.
How Can You Stay Informed?
To ensure you receive future notice of any developments or public meetings, please join MCNO’s mailing list by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with Join Email List as the subject header. We will also be announcing any further activities at our monthly meetings, held the second Monday of every month at Warren Easton High School (3019 Canal Street, 6:30-8pm). To learn more about the HDLC and how it operates, visit http://www.nola.gov/hdlc/.