S.W. Green House at 219 South Miro Street

S. has a job again, starting Monday, so when she asked if I might like to ride our bikes around on her last free Friday afternoon, I happily agreed. After getting some work done at the office I hopped on the Surly and headed to Bayou St. John to meet up. S. wanted to ride around the Mid-City Historic District to check out some of the homes that are in the way of the  footprint for the new VA hospital. Some are being moved, but others face demolition. We headed to the S.W. Green house on S. Miro, currently at the center of some controversy. Built in the late 1920s, the house is one of the oldest remaining early examples of African American architecture. Green was a prominent businessman who built this mansion, in spite of KKK members who burned it down, not wanting an African American living in such a fancy house. The current owner does not use the house as a primary residence, which seems obvious from the condition it’s in and the blight surrounding it. The budget doesn’t include money to move homes that aren’t occupied, so this place is lost, unless we decide that it’s worth saving, that it’s worth remembering this house and the people who built it. We only get to make these decisions once, so I hope we make it carefully. We rode around the neighborhood, marveling at this city’s ability to simultaneously drag its feet and act rashly.

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