Wednesday, March 3, 2010


At the end of February Docomomo New Orleans convened to elect new officers. I am honored to be President and excited to be partnered with Vice-President Wayne Troyer, Treasurer Hilairie Shackai and Secretary Maryann Miller. We are thrilled to welcome Interns Lindsey Derrington and Ian Daniels of the Tulane School of Architecture Historic Preservation program.

We are working on establishing an active agenda for the spring, but first would like to take a few moments to review the impressive accomplishments and significant challenges of our recent past.

2008. Docomomo US officially recognized the Louisiana / New Orleans chapter under the leadership of President Toni DiMaggio. Toni was supported by Vice-President Jim Albert, Treasurer Melissa Urcan and Secretary Rainier Simoneaux. In our inaugural year we participated in the Section 106 Review of two structures integral to the Civic Center complex, the State Office Building and State Supreme Court. Ultimately both were demolished without plans for redevelopment. In March we successfully nominated four mid-century modern schools to the Louisiana Landmark Society's New Orleans Nine Most Endangered List. In June Design Within Reach hosted our first social event. John Klingman presented a  of modernist buildings in the area, some at risk, others already and since demolished. In October we organized Modernism and Desire: A Streetcar Tour of Endangered Buildings in conjunction with AIA New Orleans. At the end of the year many of our members commented on the 106 Review of the School Facilities Master Plan for Orleans Parish which threatens to obliterate almost all modernist schools from the New Orleans landscape. 

2009. The Year of the Emergency Cocktail. Formal meetings were supplemented by sudden calls to arms at the Columns and Bridge Lounge. We successfully fought for Hoffman Elementary in the Neighborhood Conservation District Committee reviews only to have the decision reversed by City Council. We were inundated with FEMA 106 meetings related to Wheatley and Lafon Elementary Schools. We participated in public meetings and continue to monitor the process of the 106 review. The year ended on a high note with the announcement that Charles Colbert's Phillis Wheatley Elementary School was named to the World Monuments Fund 2010 Watch. We need to remain vigilant as the building remains at risk. The Recovery School District still fails to secure the building allowing vandalism to increase.

2010. Not only did the Saints win the Super Bowl, but the Superdome's design was recognized as an acoustical weapon for the 12th Man at home. Landmark it now!  Speaking of landmarks, the HDLC recently designated several modern buildings on Canal Street. These include the (2460),  (3700),  (4140),  (4176) and  (4841).  

One of our immediate goals is to increase our presence online and on the streets. A blog, facebook and twitter are being established as a preliminary web presence. Members of Docomomo will be invited and encouraged to contribute. We also intend to focus on ways to educate the community about modernist buildings in all New Orleans neighborhoods. Currently we are working on submissions to the New Orleans Nine Most Endangered List for 2010 (due March 22, forms here). Next meeting is scheduled TUESDAY March 9 at 6 pm, Tulane School of Architecture, room 305. Hope to see you there! 

Francine Stock

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