It wasn’t much of a day for bike riding for me. I was just so, so tired today, and I think my legs were begging for a bit of a break. So I gave it to them, mostly, and just took the bike out to run a few errands. On my way back from the post box and to the grocery, I stopped to snap a picture of this house at the corner of Constance and Pleasant. This place has been in various states of disrepair since I got to New Orleans. Today it looks fully stripped down. There’s a building permit in the window, and one of my favorite official permits in New Orleans, the “Certificate of Appropriateness.” This is not a town that seems particularly committed to notions of the appropriate, so the permit seems out of place. But it marks the building as historic, which means any construction done must meet the requirements of the Historic District Landmarks Commission. This house was, for a little while, little more than its beams and some broken siding, so it’s a little strange to think about what can be preserved here, or anywhere in New Orleans. I mean, this is a place in constant decay. But it’s also worth preserving, and some neighborhoods are indeed kept impressively preserved. Others, though, aren’t “historic,” and so are allowed to just languish, falling to pieces. Something’s not right with this picture. Because the buildings you preserve, the neighborhoods you preserve, also have something to do with the people’s histories that are preserved. And too many people are let go and abandoned here.
That last sentence is so true.
Might be one of those situation where a historic house cannot be properly brought up to code, you just let it rot into the ground so you can build what you want? I have done historic restoration/renovations in the past (we used to refer to a few of them as hysteric renovations) and have seen this. To me it is a shame to allow it, but sometimes it is the only way around it.