New Orleans Project... Revisited


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Published: May 3rd 2008
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St. Mary's AssumptionSt. Mary's AssumptionSt. Mary's Assumption

Irish Channel, Uptown
For my senior project I wrote a paper about historical preservation in New Orleans during the post-Katrina era (you can read about it here if you like). I've always considered that paper as a work in progress because the situation in New Orleans is changing by the day, sometimes by taking a step forward and other times a step back. In any case, I would like to continue this line of study in grad school, so this past weekend I went to New Orleans to take more pictures of buildings on the National Historic Register, and to tour the UNO campus.

When I was doing research for my paper, one of the things that I became frustrated with was the lack of pictures and information available for buildings on the NHR. The more well-known, public buildings were easy enough to research, but the buildings that still function as private residences were more difficult. I was surprised that there was not a comprehensive source of information that provided a photograph and the reason the building was on the Register. If a database like this was created, it would be easier to track the condition of the buildings after a disaster such
Statue of Jesus in disrepairStatue of Jesus in disrepairStatue of Jesus in disrepair

St. Mary's Assumption in the Irish Channel.
as Katrina. Since these buildings are considered national treasures, it should make sense that their conditions are monitored periodically. A database would also be useful for people who are interested in their area's history and cultural resources.

This was a very short trip (1 day!), so I stuck to photographing the buildings listed in the French Quarter, the Garden District, and Uptown. These are the most well-known areas of the city and I figured this would be a good place to start. There weren't very many surprises, but I was very intrigued with St. Mary's Assumption in the Irish Channel. It is currently undergoing repairs, but what was most striking were the damaged statues in front of the church. A statue of Jesus with a hole in its head? St. Mary lying on her side in an abandoned courtyard? It created such an eerie feeling of loss. A reminder that the pain left behind in Katrina's wake is always just around the corner.

I also visited the UNO campus. It is located in the Lakeshore area of New Orleans just east of City Park, on the shore of Lake Ponchartrain. The campus sits on an artificially created ridge.
St. Mary at RestSt. Mary at RestSt. Mary at Rest

St. Mary's Assumption in the Irish Channel.
After the levees broke, most of the water seeped back into the lake, so the campus had anywhere from 0-3 feet of standing water. However, just south of the campus across Leon Simon Drive, the elevation drops serveral feet below sea level. This area received some of the highest flood levels in the city, with over 10 feet of water. The recovery in this area seemed very mixed, with fully renovated homes sitting next to abandoned and gutted homes, FEMA grafitti still present.

I thought the campus was nice, and hopefully I will hear good news from UNO. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Also, we had seen news stories about how many movie shoots were occuring in New Orleans, and sure enough we walked right into one in the Lafayette No 1 cemetery! This is great for the city. It keeps New Orleans in the spotlight and brings jobs to a lot of locals in the entertainment industry. Now if only we can get them to bring back that cheesy "K-Ville" show because I kinda miss it!
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If you are interested in reading a series of articles by a journalist who began writing about his
Mary at RestMary at RestMary at Rest

St. Mary's Assumption in the Irish Channel.
post-Katrina experiences, I highly recommend 1 Dead in the Attic by Chris Rose. His observations of living in New Orleans directly after the storm are mixed with some very sad moments and some wickedly funny humor. He's an excellent descriptive writer, and this book really moved me. I can't say enough about it.


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The Gate at St. Mary'sThe Gate at St. Mary's
The Gate at St. Mary's

St. Mary's Assumption in the Irish Channel.
St. Alphonsus ChurchSt. Alphonsus Church
St. Alphonsus Church

Across the street from St. Mary's. Irish Channel
Honoring Prompt SuccorHonoring Prompt Succor
Honoring Prompt Succor

Our Lady of Prompt Succor is the patron saint of New Orleans. Her name means "swift help." Ursuline Convent garden.
St. James AMESt. James AME
St. James AME

I love the architecture of this church.
Madame John's LegacyMadame John's Legacy
Madame John's Legacy

One of the oldest residential structures in New Orleans. This was built shortly after the fire in 1788.
The Court of AppealsThe Court of Appeals
The Court of Appeals

French Quarter
Movie shoot!Movie shoot!
Movie shoot!

This shoot was for "The Patriot" starring Forrest Whitaker.


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