9 most endangered sites in New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS – This city is known the world over for its unique architecture, but so many of the structures that make it one-of-a-kind are threatened.

In an effort to save or protect some of structures, the Louisiana Landmarks Society on Thursday unveiled its newest New Orleans' Nine, its annual list of the nine most endangered buildings in the city.

This is the 10th year the organization has created the list.

"It has been an effective tool to raise public awareness and to shape our advocacy efforts," said Stephen Chauvin, president of the Louisiana Landmarks Society.

The 2015 New Orleans Nine are:

The former New Orleans and Carrollton Railroad Powerhouse, 403 Napoleon Ave.

This unassuming brick structure, built in 1892, was designed by architect Thomas Sully for the New Orleans and Carrollton Railroad Co. It was built to house turbines that used water from the Mississippi River and artesian wells for the production of steam used by the railroad. The structure has structural and masonry repairs that are being ignored, according to the society, and is threatened by demolition by neglect.

Fort Pike, 27100 Chef Menteur Highway

Fork Pike, built in the rigolets in 1826, was the first fort designed and built as part of the country's Third System of coastal fortifications and considered the most strategically significant fort for the protection of the United States. The fort was used during the Seminole Wars, the Mexican War and the Civil War before it was decommissioned in 1890. Its location on the water was advantageous when it came to protecting the country. But that pro is also a con. In addition to hurricane damage, wave action and uneven soil settling are threatening the fort's stability.

924 Euterpe St.

This residence, built between 1860 and 1866, is a good example of a Greek revival double-galleried home. Since 1980 the residence has suffered neglect, and no work has been done, despite work permits being issued and fines from the Historic District Landmarks Commission. A gallery cornice appears to be ready to collapse, the landmarks society said, and could damage a neighboring home.

518 Eleonore St.

A galleried Creole cottage built sometime after 1858, this home is threatened by a demolition request filed by its owner who wants to build a larger structure on the lot, the landmark society said. The home is a rare survivor of the antebellum period and can be rehabbed. The home was built by Francis Thomas, a butcher at the old Uptown market between State and Eleonore streets. The Thomas family lived in the home until 1890. "The loss of this scarce link to the early days of Uptown would be irreparable," the landmarks society said.

Carrollton Courthouse

The Carrollton Courthouse, located on South Carrollton Avenue in Riverbend, once served as the seat of government for Jefferson Parish before the area was annexed by Orleans Parish. Designed by Henry Howard, the courthouse has since housed several public schools and survived an effort in 1950 when the School Board sought to demolish it. The building has been vacant since 2013. It could be auctioned, according to School Board plans, but since it is not a legally protected historic building, there is a possibility it could be demolished.

Marsoudet-Caruso House, 1519 Esplanade Ave.

This 1846 center-hall American cottage sits between a vacant lot and a gas station near the corner of North Claiborne Avenue. It was constructed for Eliza Ducros Marsoudet by Nicholas Duru and Jacques Michel St. Martin. The home's future seemed bright in 2010 when Saint Anna's Episcopal Church purchased it in a lease-purchase agreement with the goal of turning it into a community center, but the church has struggled to raise funds to stabilize the building.

S. W. Green Mansion, 2501 Banks St.

Smith Wendall Green, the son of a former slave, made his fortune as a grocer and later president of Liberty Independent Insurance. As an international officer of the Colored Knights of Pythias, he was largely responsible for the 1909 construction of the Pythian Temple, an African-American landmark now under renovation on Loyola Avenue in the Central Business District.Weiss, Dreyfous & Seiferth, architects for Charity Hospital, the State Capitol and Lakefront Airport, designed Green's 1928 Craftsman-style, 17-room mansion on South Miro Street in Mid-City. Partially burned by the KKK during construction, it became a symbol of African-American achievement. With its location in the footprint of the VA hospital, the privately-owned mansion was moved with help from VA and the city, but it now sits in disrepair.

New Orleans riverfront: St. Thomas/Lower Garden District, Marigny, Bywater, Holy Cross, Algiers Point

Written public comments to the City Planning Commission suggest that 98 percent of the public wants to keep longstanding height limits for the city's historic neighborhoods. But, the recently approved Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance, the final step in the city's years-long master planning process, calls for additional height allowances either by changing the zoning map or applying an "overlay district" along the Mississippi River, allowing structures to qualify for a "height bonus" of 25 feet. A 50 percent increase in heights to 75 and 80 feet along the river would be permitted if developers use certain design elements. Neighborhoods fear a loss of historic "sense of place" and scale if mid-rise towers are introduced in century-old neighborhoods.

Touro Shakspeare Home, 2621 General Meyer Ave.

The Touro Shakspeare Home in Algiers, designed by William R. Burk and built in 1933 as a municipal almshouse, it building combines elements of Neo-Classical Revival and Jacobethan Revival styles. It is notable for its diamond-patterned polychrome brickwork, symmetrical massing, stepped parapets, and prominent front portico. The institution, named for philanthropist Judah Touro and former Mayor Joseph Shakspeare, functioned as a city-owned nursing home until 2005. Abandoned since Hurricane Katrina, the building has deteriorated significantly in recent years. While neglected, it appears the building has many original exterior features and could be renovated either by the city -- its owner -- or a private developer, the landmarks society said.


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