Groups hope General Laundry, Cleaners and Dyers building will be historically designated

The General Laundry building is a unique piece of New Orleans architecture that's been neglected for years. Now the battle is on to save, or destory, the building.

NEW ORLEANS -- The General Laundry, Cleaners, and Dyers Building is one step closer to becoming a historic landmark in New Orleans.

On Thursday, the Historic District Landmarks Commission approved a nomination request to give it the designation.

"The General Laundry, Cleaners and Dyers building was a fabulous era in our history in New Orleans," said Stephen Chauvin who's involved with the Louisiana Landmark Society. "It was a local company that threw fashions shows and tried to show what could be done with fine fabrics cleaned locally. Some were made locally and it was a wonderful iconic building and a wonderful time."

Built in 1930, the extravagant architecture and color made it one of a kind. In fact, a study done during the 1980's listed it as one of the 25 most notable Art Deco buildings in New Orleans. In 2017, a study found more than half of those buildings have been altered beyond recognition or demolished.

"It's an Art Deco building, and it's a superb building, very unique to New Orleans and unique in Art Deco too," Chauvin said.

More than 80 years since it was built, the building still stands out, just not in a good way.

"Some of the tile is now missing and some are cracked," Chauvin pointed out. "Obviously if you can see the building it's in terrible disrepair."

Years ago the building's exterior was put on the national register of Historic Places, which in no way offered any legal protection. With the facade now crumbling and falling apart, some are hoping to step in and protect it.

During Thursday's Historic District Landmarks Commission meeting, a nomination was presented to the Commission to make the building a historic landmark in the Crescent City. After several supporters pleaded their case, a decision was made and the nomination was accepted. A small victory, some say, is a big step towards making the building magnificent once again.

The Commission will look further into the General Laundry, Cleaners, and Dyers Building and will make a final decision at a future meeting.

Multiple attempts were made to contact the building's owner about their thoughts on it becoming a historic landmark, but messages were never returned.

The two black and white photos in this piece are from The Charles L. Franck Studio Collection at The Historic New Orleans Collection (1979.325.923 and 1979.325.922)

© 2017 WWL-TV


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