3319-21 Iberville Street [map]
This building has been proposed for demolition by FEMA. Since it’s in a historic district (Mid-City, my neighborhood) FEMA is “requesting the aid of the public in identifying alternatives to demolition.”
But how can we provide any such suggestions if we don’t know why the owner has requested demolition? The house appears to be in decent shape from the outside. Of course it was flooded, but so were all homes in the neighborhood. Perhaps the owner can’t afford to renovate?
Of course I’m only assuming the owner initiated the request. I’m not actually sure where the request originated. The notice from FEMA says that “the City of New Orleans has determined that many of the buildings severely damaged by the hurricanes are an imminent threat to public health and safety” and lists this as one of the buildings. The corner grocery that hasn’t been cleaned since the flood is not listed. The gov’t can be confusing sometimes.
Anyway, it doesn’t look like an “imminent threat to public health and safety” at first glance, but what do I know? I didn’t want to snoop too much on someone else’s property.
I don’t like the idea of tearing down old buildings that seem to be in decent shape. If this one goes, why not the whole block?
They also say “For a list of the property addresses and to suggest specific alternatives to demolition, visit www.crt.state.la.us/culturalassets/fema106 (also listed below). This information will be accepted for a 15-day period beginning on November 30, 2006.”
Maybe I’ll check back in a couple days and post a comment. But what sort of “specific alternative to demolition” might I propose? How about, I don’t know, renovation? Is that specific enough? FEMA say: “Alternative proposals should include a source of funding for stabilization and/or repairs and the timeframe required to accomplish these actions.” Well, there are some grants available for historic hurricane damaged properties. Maybe I’ll suggest one of those. I’m just thinking out loud here.
Update: I posted the following comment on FEMA’s website:
I would like to suggest an alternative to demolition for 3319-21 Iberville Street, New Orleans LA 70119.
The specific alternative I would like to suggest is: renovation. As a source of funding for renovation, I’d like to suggest the Historic Building Recovery Grant Program. I believe this house would be eligible.
More info at
Also, the owner should feel free to contact the Mid-City Neighborhood Organization if he or she needs help figuring out alternatives to demolition. Their website is at http://mcno.org/
This house is part of the distinctive housing stock of a national historic district. Please don’t tear it down.
Of course, I make this comment without full awareness of any structural problems the house may have. I merely observed from the street (I live two blocks away) that it looks to be in pretty good shape.
Update: I got the following message from FEMA on January 24th:
Thank you for your response to our Public Notice Regarding Historic Review of Privately-Owned Residential Buildings Proposed for Demolition in Orleans Parish, Louisiana – Buildings Eligible for Listing on the National Register, posted on 11/30/2006. We appreciate your comments regarding suggested alternatives to demolition of 3319-21 Iberville Street, New Orleans, LA 70119. You will be pleased to learn that FEMA has removed this property from our demolition list, and it is therefore no longer part of our undertaking. We still encourage you to contact the property owner to either purchase the property or to advocate for the property’s renovation, as the building is considered eligible for the National Register of Historic Places as a contributing resource to a historic district. Your suggestion of the Historic Building Grant Program as a source of funding can be pursued by the property owner if the program’s application deadline has not yet passed.
We sincerely appreciate your comments and suggestions. In carrying out our responsibilities under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, FEMA partners with the public and with preservation advocacy groups to identify alternatives to demolition and/or ways to mitigate the adverse effect caused by the demolition of historic properties. We encourage you to contact the Preservation Resource Center (PRC) for assistance with contacting the property owner and lobbying the owner to consider renovating the property. The PRC can be reached at: www.prcno.org or (504) 581-7032.
Kathryn St. Clair
FEMA Historic Preservation Specialist