Disaster Archive
Hurricanes 2005

Damage and Response Reports – Louisiana

March 24 Times-Picayune article: Canary Islands descendants hold 30th festival in spite of Katrina
HALMETTE, La. (AP) — Hurricane Katrina wrecked their museum, their homes, and their lives. But that couldn't keep descendants of Canary Islanders who came to St. Bernard Parish more than two centuries ago from celebrating their heritage with the 30th Islenos Fiesta. "At first, we thought, `Could we have this festival? Could we pull it off?'" said Kathie Acosta, an evacuee who drove down from Murfreesboro, Tenn., to help with the festival, which will take place Saturday and Sunday."This festival is a celebration to let people know we'll be back," she said. The hurricane flooded every building in St. Bernard Parish. To read more, click here.


March 28 KPLCTV article: Historic District Hurricane Damage.
The Calcasieu Preservation Society says thousands of tourists head to Lake Charles each year to see the Charpentier, Margaret Place, and Downtown Lake Charles historic districts.With that in mind, they say it's important to keep every house on the registry in good condition. After many homes were damaged by Hurricane Rita, the society says it's important to preserve those homes for our roots and our economy.

Mike Tremont just bought a house in the Charpentier District last Friday, complete with hurricane damage. Calcasieu Preservation Society President Virginia Webb says Tremont's house, along with others in the district held up considerably well. "This (Tremont's) house was built in the late 1890s and it's been through three hurricanes now. The hurricane of 1918, Hurricane Audrey, and Hurricane Rita. Except for trees and roof damage, most of the houses in the Charpentier District did very well," said Webb.

That's a good thing, because the nationally registered historic district could lose its standing if too many of the structures are lost. "It's important that the houses not only continue to stand, which they've done, but to be repaired correctly because inappropriate repairs can also jeopardize your standing," said Webb. To read more, click here.


March 29 New York Times article: Museums Roll Again, but Where Are All the People?
THE T-shirt in the gift shop of the National D-Day Museum here says it all: We Have Returned.

That play on Gen. Douglas MacArthur's 1942 pledge after leaving the Philippines is the museum's way of saying that it is back from the punishing blows of Hurricane Katrina. It reopened in December. If you would like to buy the $13 T-shirt, by the way, the museum would be grateful. Business is hell. On a recent Thursday morning, there were almost as many volunteers on hand to describe the exhibitions as there were visitors to look at them. On an average day in 2005 before Katrina, the museum got about 800 visitors, with 1,000 a day on weekends.

"We know it will be a slow build," said Clem Goldberger, the museum's senior director of marketing, "but we know that the numbers will come back over time."

More than six months after the storm, enormous stretches of the city's neighborhoods are still devastated. But dozens of museums are starting to bring back the city's artistic soul. The situation is "what would be if you had a significant natural catastrophe that had destroyed major portions of Queens and Brooklyn and Staten Island — but most of Manhattan was intact, including Wall Street and Central Park and the theater district," said J. Stephen Perry, chief executive of the New Orleans Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau. "This is, truly, without a doubt, a tale of two cities."

One by one, museums have reopened (for an update, visit, and each has a tale to tell. To read more, click here.


March 23 KATC TV article: Restoration may be in the future for endangered battle sites.
NEW ORLEANS – – Pieces of cut granite slab, laid atop brick walls by masons about 180 years ago, are missing, and lengths of iron fencing are twisted, hanging or just gone. Tree debris litters the site.

Historic Fort Jackson, perched on the Mississippi River just south of Buras, is still standing after a direct hit from Hurricane Katrina. But its battle scars are deep.

The pre-Civil War era fort is now closed to the public while Plaquemines Parish officials seek federal money and national attention to save it from ruin.

Earlier this month, some of their efforts paid off, when the Civil War Preservation Trust, a decade-old nonprofit group based in Washington, D.C., named Fort Jackson, as well as Fort St. Philip, its sister fortification across the Mississippi River, and Fort Pike in eastern New Orleans, collectively to its 2006 ranking of the nation's 10 most endangered battle sites. To read more, click here.


March 20 New Orleans City Business article: N.O. nonprofits struggle post-Katrina
The Louisiana Association of Nonprofit Organizations says more than half of health and human service nonprofits in southern Louisiana are still not fully operational after hurricanes Rita and Katrina.

The Urban Institute’s report, “Open and Operating: An Assessment of Louisiana Nonprofit Health and Human Services after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita,” concludes that fewer than 60 percent of nonprofits in the New Orleans area are operational, 10 percent have ceased operations and about 30 percent are working at limited capacities.

In the New Orleans area, more than a dozen providers are unsure of next year’s operational status and have canceled all future fund-raising events. The threat of permanent closure of the largest sector of nonprofit organizations means the remaining nonprofits will have more responsibility.

The Institute for Policy Studies of Johns Hopkins University reported the nonprofit sector accounted for 5.6 percent of Louisiana’s total work force and its employees earned nearly $2.9 billion in 2003, or 4.7 percent of the state’s total. To read more, click here.


March 19 New York Times article: Music Landmark Caught in Tug of Priorities After Storm
NEW ORLEANS, March 16 — The doors of the deserted Milne Boys Home flap open in the wind, and anyone who cares to brave the dank interior here in the heart of the drowned Gentilly neighborhood can find crumbling logbooks noting who visited in the early 1900's and yellowing sheet music in the attic.

Many wonder if the Milne Boys Home, which was damaged by floodwaters after Hurricane Katrina, will have a place in the new New Orleans.

A bronze plaque on the weather-beaten facade announces that Milne is "A Landmark of American Music," but it hardly looks the part, taking its place among the city's once-grand buildings ruined by floodwater after Hurricane Katrina.

Nonetheless, what happens to this 11-acre campus of wide lawns and oak trees is of more than casual interest to many people here because of its ties to Louis Armstrong, arguably this city's most famous native son. To read more, click here.


March 15 American Library Association online article: Q&A with Wayne Everard, Archivist. New Orleans City Archives, Louisiana Division, New Orleans Public Library
a) What's it really like? Are the library users coming back?

I can really only speak for the Louisiana Division/City Archives & Special Collections at the Main Library. Here we are seeing at least some of our pre-Katrina users back in action. Most of them are working on their own family history projects, though by no means have all the genealogists been in since we've reopened. One of our recommended outside "for pay" researchers has returned for fairly regular visits. We're not getting many elementary/secondary school students, probably because our open times do not coincide with their after school hours. We have had a dozen or more PhD students doing research for their dissertations. We've also had a number of FEMA-hired contract historians in researching individual buildings or sections of the city. A few documentary filmmakers have also been by. Even before we opened to in-house users we had started to accept mail requests for search and/or photocopying services; we're not back to pre-K numbers, but we do have a steady stream of letters coming in each week. We've also been answering e-mail inquiries, even before we were even back in the building. Many of those have been from users asking about post-storm availability of materials, but we've also had three requests for duplication of microfilm in our collection as well as requests from authors and publishers seeking permission to use photographs and other materials. Irene Wainwright and I are the only staffers left in the Division (out of the ten who were here pre-K). We have help with reshelving but just about everything else is left to us to do (we also maintain the Library's web site). We keep quite busy! To read more, click here.


March 15 Times-Picayune article: Ain't That a Shame.
State museum officials trying to save musical treasures from the flooded home of rock 'n' roll pioneer Fats Domino

Fats Domino's Katrina-flooded house sat gutted and full of treasures Tuesday as a crew from the Louisiana State Museum arrived in the Lower 9th Ward to salvage the beloved musician's two Steinway grand pianos and a smaller electric Wurlitzer piano that sat at the foot of his big bed, next to a huge jar of pickled pigs feet.

The museum is negotiating with the Domino family to save the pianos from further deterioration and include them in a planned national touring exhibit about the August hurricane and subsequent flooding, said Greg Lambousy, director of collections for the museum. Domino was rescued by boat Aug. 29 as the floodwaters rose in his neighborhood. To read more, click here.


March 12 The Advocate article: Hamilton takes over helm at State Library
When Rebecca Hamilton was a young girl in West Baton Rouge Parish, she went into a library. In her heart, she’s never come out.

“It was just fate. I was a good bookmobile patron, and they said ‘you need to work at the public library.’ And I did. That first summer, I could see where we made a difference in people’s lives because bookmobiles go to places where children gather and people who can’t leave their homes because they’re sick or homebound. And I just remember thinking that first summer in 1989 that this is a fun job and it changed people’s lives because it enhanced people’s lives. When you’re a librarian, you’re a public servant. You’re all about customer service,” Hamilton said.

That first taste of library work whetted Hamilton’s appetite for more and she spent six years as a para-professional at the West Baton Rouge Parish Library. Her first job was on the library bookmobile and she loved it. “ It was really that, and with encouragement from Anna Marchifava that I got my library degree.” In 1995, Hamilton earned a master’s degree in library science at LSU. Stints at libraries in  Terrebonne Parish, the Audubon Regional System and St. Mary Parish followed before she became associate state librarian in 2003.

On the first day of July 2005, she became Louisiana State Librarian upon the retirement of Thomas Jaques. She had reached the pinnacle of library work in Louisiana. Just two months later, she faced the biggest challenge any state librarian ever faced when hurricanes Katrina and Rita ravaged the southern third of the state.

“One hundred and six total buildings were affected or destroyed. About 30 of those were totally destroyed,” Hamilton said. While the offices of the state library in downtown were briefly without power, little other damage occurred there. Not so in the rest of the state.

“At our absolute worst, we had 121 libraries closed. And we had 339 before the storm. That’s pretty monumental,” she said. The library staff swung into action. To read more, click here.


March 7 The Wall Street Journal article: Keeping Track Of Miniature Books Is No Small Feat.

By design, miniature books don't take up much space. The tiny tomes are easy to carry, easy to pack and easy to hide. So it should come as no surprise that they are also very easy to lose.

A traveling exhibit of 125 rare miniature books was among the millions of objects lost to the chaos of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans last summer. The collection, valued at about $25,000, included one-of-a-kind creations with typeset pages hand-sewn into gilt-stamped, leather bindings. Most were one-half inch to 2 inches tall. One prize edition: a copy of the Old King Cole nursery rhyme, 1 millimeter square, or smaller than the size of an "n" in this newspaper.

Until recently the fate of the collection, which had been on display at a New Orleans library, wasn't known because no one could get into the library. "It's been horrible," says Eileen Cummings, president of the Miniature Book Society, which owns the collection.

. . . . As for the 125 miniature books stranded in New Orleans, they were finally recovered last month, found crated up in the library, where they had sitting been since Katrina hit. They were sent to the University of North Texas, which has its own miniature-book collection, for inspection and refurbishing.

Most survived in fairly good condition, with only some minor wear and tear. About 25 were damaged. The rest were shipped to the Cushing Memorial Library at Texas A&M University, where they will be on display beginning this week. To read more, click here.


March 5 The Advocate article: N.O. museum reopens to brass band. NOMA offers La. patrons year of free admission
NEW ORLEANS — The pounding rhythms of the Soul Rebels brass band greeted visitors Saturday to the newly reopened New Orleans Museum of Art.

Lured by the announcement of free admission for Louisiana residents for the rest of the year and free live music — brass bands, jazz, classical and country — through Sunday afternoon, modest crowds filed into the museum or lounged in the grass of the sculpture garden.

Families relaxed on the museum’s front lawn. A line formed under a white tent where cold beer, hot burritos and other refreshments were sold.

Six months after Hurricane Katrina, the revival of the city’s center for fine arts resembled a tune-up for Jazz Fest.

In separate interviews, both the museum director, John Bullard, and members of the Soul Rebels, a mostly college-educated band of young African-Americans, suggested cultural distinctions and the storm’s unsettling effects on the city’s live music and fine arts alike. To read more, click here.


March 4 The Times-Picayune article: NOMA's new vision
Before Katrina, director John Bullard had a grand plan for expanding the New Orleans Museum of Art. Since Katrina, he has a new dream: staying open. Back in the halcyon days of early 2005, New Orleans Museum of Art director John Bullard had big dreams. There was talk of a $100 million fund-raising campaign that would finance a new three-story museum building in City Park, connected by an elevated skyway to founder Isaac Delgado's 96-year-old neoclassical landmark. The expansion would provide breathing room for the museum's space-hungry collections, plus airy interiors tailor-made for the sort of big-budget, big-audience traveling exhibits that had previously passed over New Orleans. If all went well, the construction project would have broken ground by the museum's centennial in 2010.

"We were thinking of all sorts of things, all sorts of possibilities," Bullard said of the bygone plans that would have punctuated his multidecade career as director. "I guess now Katrina's my career capper."

The floodwaters that coursed through failed levees and into City Park in late August turned NOMA into a Beaux Arts island, complete with eight castaway staff members and their families. Thirty-nine men, women and children who had weathered the storm inside the stone and cement structure then found themselves stranded.

"A certain number of staff members always volunteer to stay during a storm," Bullard said, "and they keep their families with them. In the 33 years I've been in charge, we've never had a (direct) hit."

When FEMA officials ordered the NOMA refugees helicoptered out, the museum stood unmanned and vulnerable for two days until staff members and a security squad of heavily armed former New York City police officers, provided by the museum's insurance company, re-occupied the building.

With generators powering the all-important air conditioners and a cordon of National Guard troops around the perimeter, the art treasures were protected from natural and criminal elements until power was restored and the city returned to order.

Repairs to the seeping museum basement cost $2.5 million. The roof needed another $500,000 worth of work. And the size of the staff dropped precipitously from 87 to 15.

But the museum persevered. A skeleton crew of department heads spent the fall and winter putting the museum's public spaces in working order. And on Friday, the New Orleans Museum of Art's huge bronze doors swung open, welcoming the public inside for the first time since Aug. 28. To read more, click here.


February 27 The Advocate article: Our Views: Buildings crucial part of Louisiana
The Blanco administration has made the Louisiana Cabildo, the Presbytere and the Lower Pontalba a top priority for hurricane repairs, a gesture that acknowledges the deep historical significance of these structures.

We believe the administration is correct in lending urgency to the cause of preserving the Cabildo, the Presbytere and the Lower Pontalba, three French Quarter buildings that date from Louisiana’s earliest days.

Constructed between 1795 and 1799, the Cabildo served as the seat of Spanish colonial government. It was the site of the signing of the transfer of the Louisiana Territory to the United States in 1803. The Cabildo also has served as New Orleans City Hall, and it was the parish prison. In more recent years, it has housed a state museum. To read more, click here.


February 26 Los Angeles Times article: City's Landmarks Recovering
Here's the status of some of New Orleans' landmarks six months after Hurricane Katrina's Aug. 29 landfall:

Louisiana Superdome: Closed until September. The NFL's Saints plan to play the 2006 season in the city after playing home games in San Antonio and Baton Rouge, La., in 2005.

Ernest N. Morial Convention Center: Repairs of damage from the hurricane and its use as an evacuation center are expected to be finished in April. The center's first post-hurricane event — a jewelry and gift trade show held in the city for 54 years — was staged this month.

Audubon Aquarium of the Americas: Remains closed, having lost most of its fish when generators failed. The Gulf and Caribbean exhibits are running again and have been restocked, but officials are still working to replace the rest of the aquarium's collection. They hope to reopen this summer.

Jackson Square: One of the first places to get a thorough scrubbing and face-lift after Katrina, just before President Bush came in September to tell the nation the city would be rebuilt. The square is nearly what it was before Katrina: famous Cafe Du Monde is open, musicians ply the sidewalks, and tarot card readers and tour guides try to engage a shrunken pool of tourists. To read more, click here.


February 25 The Advocate article: Groups work to save wet church records
Hundreds of New Orleans sacramental records, registries, financial documents and artifacts were destroyed or damaged by the flooding and mold caused by Hurricane Katrina.

Now at their temporary new homes in Baton Rouge, the documents are being handled with care in hopes of repairing and restoring as many as possible.

The processes involved are often long and tedious, but the documents are worth the trouble and money to preserve and rebind, explained Lee Leumas, archivist for the Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge, which is working with LSU to house and restore the papers. To read more, click here.


February 24 The Advocate article: Storms stole black history, speaker says
Flood waters from hurricanes Katrina and Rita washed away many African-American historical artifacts, a state official told students Thursday at Southeastern Louisiana University.

Donovan Hudson, general counsel for the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, focused his portion of a panel discussion of three black public officials about the hurricane experience as part of a lecture series celebrating Black History Month. The series was sponsored by the university’s department of political science.

Hudson was joined by Kim Hunter Reed, deputy chief of staff and policy director for Gov. Kathleen Blanco, and Col. Henry Whitehorn, superintendent of State Police.
They reviewed the history of the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which struck Aug. 29. To read more, click here.


February 24 The Times Picayune article: CULTURE ON PARADE. Rex pays tribute to cultural heroes of Louisiana
Things have certainly changed since the last time I visited the Rex den back in mid-September. Then, I was alone, reporting on the damage the hurricane and flood had done to the Carnival floats stored around the city. The 5 feet of water that had inundated the sheet metal warehouse at Claiborne Avenue and 3rd Street had receded, leaving a greasy brown tide mark and debris scattered everywhere.

A sliding garage door on one side of the building had been blown in, allowing me to wander by flashlight through the rows of floats. The floor was slick with that custard-like Katrina mud. The canvas hulls of the floats were damp, the iron undercarriages streaked with rust. Far from the gaiety of Carnival, the place was a dismal, shadowy mess. (I was told later that the body of a flood victim had floated in through the same door I'd come through. I didn't see it.)

Last week, Rex designer Henri Schindler invited me to the den to view the lineup of repaired floats. He thought this year's theme, "Beaux Arts and Letters," would be especially interesting to an art critic. He was right. Rex 2006 will be a rolling museum/library of the works of the most recognizable painters, sculptors, playwrights, journalists and novelists of Louisiana's past, charmingly reproduced in papier-mâché and plywood. Since this is the art section, let's concentrate on the artists. To read more, click here.


February 19 Biloxi Sun Herald article: A planner's historic opportunity, impossible task
PHILADELPHIA - John Beckman, a Philadelphia city planner with mad-scientist hair, loped onto the ballroom stage at the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel on Jan. 11 armed with a PowerPoint presentation and a grand urban vision. His firm, Wallace Roberts & Todd, had just completed a marathon effort to write an instruction manual for rebuilding flood-ravaged New Orleans.

Scanning the standing-room-only crowd of more than a thousand, it seemed to Beckman that every person in the room vibrated with grievance over what had happened to their elegant city and gracious way of life. He knew from 30 years as an urban planner that the audience wouldn't automatically embrace his ideas. But he never before had had to tell listeners that they might not be able to go home again.

"As a planner, you're always dealing with controversy," Beckman said afterward in WRT's sleek Philadelphia offices. "But none of us was quite prepared for the level of venom." To read more, click here.

February 15 Architectural Record article: Some New Orleans Residents Have Begun to Rebuild
Many Katrina-evacuated homeowners who thought they’d lost everything are finding their homes are salvageable, especially older ones.

Last Thanksgiving, for example, volunteers from the New Orleans Preservation Resource Center (PRC) cleaned out an 1884 shotgun house in the Holy Cross neighborhood of New Orleans, a less-damaged part of the notorious Lower Ninth Ward. The removals revealed streaked warm orange and blue board-and-batten walls and the sturdy wood floors. Built of dense pine and cypress, they’ve come through the flooding unscathed. The work was sponsored by the PRC, and supported by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, to show that some of the city’s oldest houses are rehab candidates. According to spokeswoman Sue Sperry, PRC with a combination of paid and volunteer labor, should be able to get 82-year-old Mildred Bennett back into her home for $40,000. Progress now only awaits the restoration of electricity and reliable supplies of water to the neighborhood.

For the many homes that have not suffered significant structural damage, a cottage industry of contractors and volunteers has grown around “gutting out” houses: ripping out water-soaked linoleum, carpet, plywood floors and fiberboard cabinets; tearing down sheetrock (to above the mold line anyway), and often throwing out doors and windows to dry out moldy studs, which rarely suffer from flooding alone.

These now-see-through houses are ready for rebuilding, but homeowners often must battle with insurers about wind damage (generally covered) versus flood damage (either not covered or only partly covered). Others have to fight “red tagging,” which denotes that damage is greater than 50 percent, and means they cannot rebuild except above FEMA-mapped flood levels. Unfortunately FEMA has yet to produce the maps.

Another cottage industry has built up around getting the damage estimates reduced to below the 50-percent threshold that requires compliance with whatever those new flood elevations turn out to be. The red-tagging, says PRC’s Sperry, was often cursory, done in drive-by visual inspections by nonprofessionals—barbers, mailmen—pressed into service when few professionals were in town. PRC, in fact, has resurveyed houses in historic districts, which cover most of the city. A bulging wall or a tree through a roof was often enough to get a house red-tagged, she said. But such damage is often repaired for less than apparently-intact homes that had been flooded to the point that ceilings collapsed. “Only a structural engineer and an architect can assess some of these problems,” she says. To read more, click here.


January 30 New Orleans City Business article: Warehouse District museums overcome damage, looting from Katrina
The historic museums of the Central Business District and the Warehouse District are making a comeback after Hurricane Katrina.

The Louisiana Children’s Museum on Julia Street sustained roof damage with water seepage causing carpet and wall damage.

Julia Bland, executive director of the Louisiana Children’s Museum, estimates repairs will cost several hundred thousand dollars.

“We have not yet reopened but mid-February is what we are shooting for,” she said. “We are waiting on roofers, carpet installers and insurance adjusters — just like the rest of New Orleans.” To read more, click here.


January 25 Houston Chronicle article: New Orleans Wants to Destroy Historic Homes
Preservationists say the city would tear down structurally sound, historic buildings under a much-criticized plan to cull the city of homes in danger of falling over in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

The city wants to tear down about 2,000 homes that inspectors deemed in such bad shape that they needed to be demolished soon.

But preservationists say that at least 71 of those homes—all of them in historic districts—should not be demolished. To read more, click here.


January 23 The Advocate article: Jackson Barracks valuables damaged. Military post works to save collections
From the outside, the buildings on the grounds of Jackson Barracks look relatively unscathed even if empty of life. The interior of the former Louisiana National Guard headquarters tells a different story.

Nestled along the Orleans-St. Bernard Parish line adjacent to the lower 9th Ward, the Barracks were under 10 feet of water for days after Hurricane Katrina. Officials have estimated there was $40 million in damage to Jackson Barracks. The headquarters have been moved to Camp Beauregard in Alexandria. The grounds have been cleaned, but many of the buildings and residences still are filled with destroyed, moldy furniture and equipment.

“Some of the residents have come back to clean out their houses, to see what they can save,” Sgt. Nick Stahl said. One building is functioning on the barracks grounds, said Sgt. Carlos Sanchez, and that’s where those still assigned to Jackson Barracks work. “Right now about the only thing we’re doing is tours,” Sanchez said. It could be five years before Jackson Barracks is fully operational, Sanchez said. Right now, the focus is on clean-up and assessment of damage.

While the work on resurrecting Jackson Barracks as a military operations center may be moving slowly, the work on saving its historical value has already begun. To read more, click here.


January 16 Reuters article: New Orleans plan aims at preserving culture
If the city that gave the world Fats Domino, jazz funerals and the po-boy sandwich is to rebound from Hurricane Katrina, nurturing its quirky culture must be part of New Orleans' recovery, said a city plan to preserve cultural heritage released on Monday.
Rebuilding the culture is nearly as critical as rebuilding levees and neighborhoods, said the plan by a panel of musicians, chefs and arts officials and co-chaired by New Orleans native and jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis. To read more, click here.


January 16 New York Times article: Culture Raises Its Head and Heart
While much of the grieving and arguing about New Orleans has centered on housing, a panel appointed by the mayor contends that any comeback will be driven by a fierce love of the city's distinctive culture - from music to food to folk traditions.

To that end, a report to be released today by the cultural committee of Mayor C. Ray Nagin's Bring New Orleans Back Commission, proposes that the city regenerate its pool of creative talent by finding jobs and shelter for artists and cultural institutions. It must repair damaged cultural facilities and build new ones, like a National Jazz Center and an expanded and enhanced arts district, the report says; market New Orleans as a world-class cultural capital; teach the arts and cultural traditions to the city's young people; and seek investment from national and international sources. To read more, click here.


January 16 BizNewOrleans article: Groups offer tips for saving storm-damaged antiques
The Louisiana Landmarks Society, in conjunction with the Getty Foundation, announce a joint event called “Salvaging from the Storm: Fixing Photos, Furniture and More” to be held on Sunday, Jan. 22, 2006, at 1:00 p.m. at Loyola University’s Nunemaker Auditorium.

Guest speakers will be Debra Hess Norris, Henry Francis du Pont Chair in Fine Arts in the Department of Art Conservation at the University of Delaware, and Arlen Heginbotham, associate conservator of decorative arts at the J. Paul Getty Museum. The event is free and the public is encouraged to attend. To read more, click here.


January 13 U.S. Newswire press release: National Trust President Richard Moe Urges New Orleans Mayor to Reconsider Controversial Rebuilding Proposal
Today National Trust for Historic Preservation President Richard Moe responded to New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin's Bring Back New Orleans Commission's recently unveiled proposal that would give neighborhoods in the city's low-lying areas from four months to one year to prove that they should not be bulldozed. To read more, click here.


January 12 New York Times article: Anger Meets New Orleans Renewal Plan
Residents of the city's most devastated neighborhoods responded with anger Wednesday after the city's rebuilding commission unveiled its most contentious proposal: giving neighborhoods in low-lying parts of the city from four months to a year to prove they should not be bulldozed.

The plan was presented at a standing-room-only meeting punctuated by catcalls and angry outbursts that often interrupted members of the panel. "Over my dead body" was uttered more than once. To read more, click here.


January 7 ABC News article: New Orleans' Old Homes Prove They Were Built to Last. The City's Architectural Cornerstones Will Be Among the Easiest to Restore, Possibly Inspiring Reconstruction.
When Bari Landry finally returned to her New Orleans home, she expected to break the lock and see a lot of damage. What she didn't expect was to find her home had weathered the winds and subsequent floods of Hurricane Katrina.

"I just opened the lock and walked in. I felt so guilty," she says now, standing on her porch in the south Lakeview neighborhood.

The structure of her home remained, for the most part, intact. To withstand hurricanes and flooding, her 1923 Craftsman-style bungalow—in one of the city's many historic neighborhoods—had been built with a mix of impervious materials, such as plaster, cypress and slate.

These homes will be some of the easiest to save in New Orleans, preservation experts say, and should be among the first. They are the city's cornerstones, and their rebirth is New Orleans' rebirth.

"In Louisiana, culture means business," explained Lt. Gov. Michael Landrieu (D) at a Capitol Hill hearing last month. To read more, click here.


January 3 New York Times article: Scientist at Work: Shannon Lee Dawdy.  Archaeologist in New Orleans Finds a Way to Help the Living.  PIECES OF HISTORY
Much of the Holt cemetery, for the poor of New Orleans, was destroyed in Hurricane Katrina. Efforts are being made to restore it.

Shannon Lee Dawdy kneeled in the forlorn Holt graveyard to touch a thimble-size bone poking up out of the cracked dirt. She examined it without revulsion, with the fascination of a scientist and with the sadness of someone who loves New Orleans.

Dr. Dawdy, a 38-year-old assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Chicago, is one of the more unusual relief workers among the thousands who have come to the devastated expanses of Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. She is officially embedded with the Federal Emergency Management Agency as a liaison to the state's historic preservation office.

Her mission is to try to keep the rebuilding of New Orleans from destroying what is left of its past treasures and current culture. To read more, click here.


December 27 Radio Iowa article: Iowa gives fish to re-stock New Orleans aquarium
A few Iowans helped land some of the fish that are now making their home at a world-class aquarium in New Orleans. Employees of the "Audubon Aquarium of the Americas" had to evacuate because of Hurricane Katrina, the aquarium's life support systems failed and 10-thousand fish died. Kevin Hansen, a technician at the state fish hatchery in Guttenberg, Iowa, says folks at the Mississippi River Museum in Dubuque told him about the plight of the New Orleans aquarium.

The Guttenberg fish hatchery operates an aquarium from May to October, and when they close down the fish are released into the Mississippi. Hansen says they decided to give their fish to the folks in New Orleans, and even went into the Mississippi River to find some of the species the aquarium was looking for. Hansen went out on some of the "back channels" on the Mississippi with a local commercial fisherman and they hauled in "quite a bit of extra fish." To read more, click here.

December 21 USA TODAY article: Amid ruins, volunteers are emerging as heroes
In his 67 years, Howard Peterson had never seen a Mennonite. But 11 days before Christmas he stood in the ruins of his kitchen, watching a crew of them gut and clean his flood-ravaged house.

Peterson is a retired African-American barber who lives on disability payments. His eyes are sad, his movement listless, his voice weak. His helpers were strapping white men from Lancaster County, Pa., dressed in dark pants, collared shirts, suspenders and black straw hats.

Peterson and his wife couldn't afford to pay a contractor several thousand dollars to gut the one-story house, which sat in water for weeks after Hurricane Katrina inundated the working-class Gentilly district. So Peterson, who looks too frail to do spring cleaning, began trying to clear out the house himself. Then the Mennonites came by and offered a hand. To read more, click here.


December 20 Plain Dealer article: New Orleans museum rethinks role
The contrast was harsh, if unintentional.

John Bullard, the director of the New Orleans Museum of Art, visited the Cleveland Museum of Art last week to speak about how Hurricane Katrina ravaged his city and imposed radical setbacks on the institution he has served for 33 years.

As he spoke to several dozen staff members in the Cleveland museum's North Lobby Wednesday, he was interrupted by the loud whine of drills and the banging of hammers on the floor below.

The noise was a vivid reminder that construction workers are moving ahead smartly with the Cleveland museum's $258 million renovation and expansion, whose first phase will be completed in a little over two years.

It also underscored how Hurricane Katrina forced Bullard to abandon plans for a $100 million capital campaign and expansion project of his own. Now he's reduced to figuring out what role an art museum can play in a devastated community fighting for its future. To read more, click here.


December 17 Times Picayune article: CHARCOAL PORTRAIT GETS TLC
THE PIECE: A portrait of mother and child done circa 1910 in charcoal by a local artist named Celli

THE OWNER: Jean Matkin of Lake Vista retrieved this charcoal portrait of her great-grandmother and an aunt from the family home on West End Boulevard after it had been submerged in floodwaters. The paper was warped underneath the glass frame, and water lines and smudges were apparent.

CURRENT CONDITION: The piece has been restored to an acceptable, if not perfect, state. Minor imperfections still exist but have been effectively camouflaged by meticulous cleaning and minor touch-up.

HOW IT WAS DONE: Matkin enlisted professional help from Rene DeVille of DeVille Paper Conservation and Restoration Inc., who received the portrait in its frame more than two months after the damage occurred. To read more, click here.


December 15 Naples Daily News article: Historic New Orleans faces architectural theft
Professional photographer Keith Calhoun is resigned to the hurricane that destroyed his studio. And he has even reconciled himself to the pilfering of negatives he had stored there.

But what has him spitting nails is the recent looting of the fat cypress beams that had kept his Victorian-era building standing — and that would be key to putting it back together.

The beams — or joists — long pieces of dense, 19th-century timber that support roofs and floors and are virtually impossible to purchase new, fetch about $10 a running foot at a salvage yard, Calhoun says. He reckons he lost a truckload of antique wood.

Calhoun suspects that common thieves working his neighborhood wouldn't be going after antique building materials such as joists, mantels and Victorian shutters unless they were being directed to by someone in the know. The value, he says, is only clear to renovators and aficionados of historic design.

"Not even the cops know this stuff's valuable — they all live out in the suburbs," Calhoun says.

Three months after Hurricane Katrina, much of New Orleans is still without electricity, and miles of its historic neighborhoods are virtually deserted. Tens of thousands of unoccupied homes, their doors kicked in by rescue teams, are standing unsecured in thinly patrolled neighborhoods.

In this environment, police say they have begun to see evidence of architectural pilfering, and they suspect out-of-state work crews are the source of much of the looting. At a recent community meeting, New Orleans Police Superintendent Warren Riley said police have begun keeping careful watch on contractor trucks driving through the empty parts of town. To read more, click here.


December 15 News 14 Carolina article: N.C. art museum leads effort to help New Orleans facility
The North Carolina Museum of Art is leading an effort to help the art museum in New Orleans after hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

The New Orleans museum is closed until at least the middle of next year. It suffered little damage, but has been hurt by overall destruction in the city and had to lay off 85 percent of its staff. To read more, click here.


December 11 The Advocate article: Art conservator sees business spike after hurricanes
The pastel drawing of a customer's father had hung in her mother's home, where it sat in water after Hurricane Katrina and been badly damaged.

There was a crack in the paper across the man's face.

But Margaret Moreland, a local art conservator, said the woman's mother wanted the drawing restored to the best condition possible. "It was the only thing of her husband, who died 10 years ago. She had lost all her photographs," said Moreland, who has been restoring and preserving art for almost 20 years. To read more, click here.


December 6 Beauregard, LA Daily News article: D-Day Museum finally reopens
The National D-Day Museum, looted and vandalized in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, reopened Saturday with a smaller staff, but its artifacts and exhibits intact.
The museum, which was dedicated in 2000, will now operate with fulltime staff of 26, rather than its 62-member pre-Katrina payroll. The museum's volunteer contingent has declined from 250 to 60. To read more, click here.

December 5 Seattle Post Intelligencer article: New Orleanians work to save historic homes
Clytie Julien lost $60,000 worth of uninsured antiques to Hurricane Katrina, but she is intent on saving her most valuable possession: her roughly 80-year-old Victorian house in the city's historic Broadmoor neighborhood.
"This house will be restored," vowed Julien, 65. "It will be better than it was before the storm."

That is good news for the National Trust for Historic Preservation, whose volunteers have been canvassing thousands of flood-damaged historic houses in New Orleans and encouraging owners to rebuild rather than bulldoze in this city of Creole cottages, shotgun homes, antebellum Greek revival mansions, 19th-century townhouses, American foursquares, century-old bungalows and Victorians. To read more, click here.


November 28 Slidell Sentry-News article: Pest control operators helping with mold
Armed with insecticide and spray pumps, pest control specialists may have found a new calling.

With mold rapidly eating its way through hurricane ravaged homes along the Gulf Coast, the Department of Agriculture and Forestry announced help where one might not normally turn — the nearest pest control operator.

In a recent declaration of emergency, Commissioner Bob Odom declared microbial organisms that cause mold, a pest under Louisiana Pesticide Law, thus subject to treatment from local pest control operators.

For years, pest control operators have used chemicals to not only ward off pests, but also sterilize mold growths. Many outside the pest control industry were clueless to the fact. To read more, click here.


November 25 Times-Picayune article: Volunteers bring home back to life
Had things been different, had the floodwaters not come in August, this 121-year-old single shotgun in the Lower 9th Ward would have hosted Thanksgiving dinner this year.

Mildred Bennett, 88, grew up in this pink house with the green trim, a house that has been in the family since it was built in 1884—a wedding present for Rose Randall from her father, a plantation owner in Plaquemines Parish.

But the shotgun is now stained with the filthy muck left by the flooding from Hurricane Katrina and holds the stench of mold and decayed food—no place for a holiday meal.

Bennett and her family have allowed 5218 Dauphine St. to become a "demonstration home" for the Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The house, with its cypress floors, is structurally sound and perfectly eligible for repair, the preservationists say. To read more, click here.


November 21 New York Daily News article: Demolition of homes arouses little resistance in St. Bernard Parish
When Rosalia Sanchez learned last week that her Hurricane Katrina-totaled home was slated for demolition, she almost didn't have the strength to be angry. To read more, click here.

November 19 Washington Times article: Art survives Katrina; museum struggles
Baseball-sized French glass Mardi Gras beads still dangle on live oak trees outside the New Orleans Museum of Art. Somehow, they defied Hurricane Katrina's fury.

The Degas, Monet and Gauguin paintings, the jeweled Faberge eggs and the Ansel Adams photographs are all safe inside. Even though storm winds uprooted 60-foot-tall trees nearby and 8-foot-deep floodwaters surrounded the museum like a lake with an island castle, the art treasures were spared.

The museum wasn't, however, and its scars are just beginning to show. To read more, click here.


November 19 Dallas Morning News article: Big Easy faces big questions.
How should city rebuild neighborhoods and infrastructure, reinvent economy? "It's either the beginning of New Orleans, or the end of New Orleans."

A casual remark, lobbed across the bar at the Bridge Lounge in the Lower Garden District, that captures the apocalyptic mood hovering over this most buoyant of American cities.

New Orleans, the Big Easy, has become the Big Question Mark. Can – or should – it rebuild? Can it reinvent its economy, or will it continue to accept whatever development deal comes along? Will its leaders pursue alternative futures, or will they retreat to their secretive, almost feudal habits? To read more, click here.


November 15 Artnet News article:  New Orleans Museum sets Reopening Date
The New Orleans Museum of Art is making "slow steps" towards reopening its doors to the public, said museum director E. John Bullard in a recent telephone interview. The museum has been closed since Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast at the end of September 2005, and in mid-October the city of New Orleans laid off all but its most essential employees, which included 70 of the 87 staffers at the museum. To read more, click here.


November 15 Times-Picayune article: Citizens pack rebirth forum.
Experts urged to use N.O. history as guide

Pleading with a panel of outside experts to avoid making any recommendations that would transform New Orleans into a Disney version of itself, hundreds of residents packed the Sheraton Hotel on Monday to preach preservation of the city's unique architecture, ambiance and neighborhoods. To read more, click here.


November 14 Long Beach Daily Breeze article: Moisture is new battle of New Orleans after hurricane. Saving some of the old mansions is a long, slow process as the mold danger requires special measures
The Longue Vue estate, with its English furnishings, Turkish rugs, blown-glass chandeliers and oil paintings, is on life support. Hundreds of yards of air-duct hoses run through doors and into cellars, trying to save the mansion from Hurricane Katrina's long-lasting remnant: mold. To read more, click here.


November 14 Reuters Alertnet article: Historic New Orleans battlefield fights Katrina damage
Gen. Andrew Jackson repelled the British at the Battle of New Orleans in 1815, but the siege of Hurricane Katrina proved too much for the battlefield site commemorating the American victory.

The flooding that followed the Aug. 29 storm was high in Chalmette, just south of New Orleans, where Jackson won a lopsided battle over battle-hardened British troops at the end of the War of 1812. To read more, click here.


November 14 Bayou Buzz article: New Orleans Hosts Mayors´ Institute on City Design
Mayor C. Ray Nagin and other City officials will host a special session with the U.S. Conference of Mayors in partnership with the Mayors’ Institute on City Design on Tuesday, November 15, 2005.

Attendees will discuss design principles, priorities and strategies for rebuilding their communities with a nationally-renowned team of experts headed by Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr., who founded the Mayors’ Institute on City Design in 1986 and led his city’s revitalization following the devastation of Hurricane Hugo in 1989. To read more, click here.


November 13 Times-Picayune article: Panel: Rebuilding must be visionary.  Plan should focus on 'new urbanism'
To preserve the architectural heritage of New Orleans, a visionary master plan will be needed to guide the restoration of the city, a group of visiting architects and engineers said Saturday, capping the end of the Louisiana Recovery and Rebuilding Conference.

The master plan should be as sweeping in magnitude as the efforts made in rebuilding Europe and Japan after World War II. Such a plan will require cooperation between government and planners on an unprecedented scale. Crucial to the city's success will be the use of eminent domain, using regulatory authority to acquire private land; stricter building codes; and the creation of mixed-use, mixed-income neighborhoods. To read more, click here.


November 13 Times-Picayune article: Act now, speak with one voice, planners advise.  Better levees, mixed development urged
Sending a message to elected officials from New Orleans to Washington, the participants in the Louisiana Recovery and Rebuilding conference said they want immediate action on three things: unified leadership, regional cooperation and Category 5 levee protection. In the concluding hours of the three-day conference to develop planning principles for rebuilding southern Louisiana, more than 500 planners, architects and community leaders outlined priorities for the state's most devastated parishes. The recommendations ranged from transforming the St. Claude and Rampart corridors in New Orleans into mixed-income neighborhoods to converting parish-owned land in St. Bernard into FEMA trailer parks.

Most powerful, however, were the overarching themes that ran through the entire weekend, such as merging the governor and mayor's commissions into one, developing an immediate action plan for rebuilding, and pressuring Congress to give the state a portion of oil and gas royalties for wetland restoration and levee protection. To read more, click here.


November 12 Mobile Register article: D-Day Museum survives adversity.
Attraction, reopening Dec. 3, plans to be 'in the forefront of the recovery of the tourist industry in New Orleans'

The words on the back of the T-shirts worn by the National D-Day Museum volunteers here Friday proclaimed: "Never Give In. Never Give In."

The words are attributed to Winston Churchill, the prime minister of Great Britain who led his country through its darkest days of World War II. On Friday, a crowd of some 400 to 500 well-wishers gathered on the museum's grounds here cheered and applauded when they learned that the museum's darkest days are over. To read more, click here.


November 11 Times-Picayune article: Donation saves show in City Park.  Cash to clean areas slated for lights tour
The Azby Fund, a local foundation that for years has been a strong supporter of City Park, has donated $1.1 million to help clean up parts of the hurricane-ravaged park, ensuring that Celebration in the Oaks, the park's annual holiday lights extravaganza, can open this holiday season. To read more, click here.


November 11 The Advocate article: Architects: Recovery to preserve N.O. flavor: Speakers bounce around ideas for rebuilding
Several speakers at Louisiana's first statewide post-hurricane recovery and rebuilding conference conveyed a sense of urgency Thursday in developing a blueprint to guide New Orleans' and the state's recovery from Katrina and Rita. To read more, click here.


November 10 Times-Picayune article: Official says old homes die hard: National Trust aims to save historic areas
When Bari Landry sees Lakeview neighbors piling flooded plaster walls on the curb, she said, it rips her heart out.

"It's heartbreaking, because they don't realize what they are throwing away," Landry said Wednesday while taking National Trust President Richard Moe on his second tour of her Craftsman-style bungalow at 811 Loque Street. To read more, click here.


November 10 BizNewOrleans article: Landrieu urges mayor, governor to merge commissions
Planners who converged in the city today to discuss how it will come back from the ravages of Hurricane Katrina echoed the theme that human factors should guide decisions about New Orleans’ future.

Speakers at the Louisiana Recovery and Rebuilding Conference said preservation of cultural richness and diversity must be priorities, and they said that preservation of heritage is crucial to building back the city its residents know. To read more, click here.


November 6 Times Picayune article: BATTLE SCARS: Historic Jackson Barracks and its museum fared little better than other structures in the storm- ravaged 9th Ward of New Orleans.
Lying inside the portal of the darkened 170-year-old building, a figure rests on its side, its rumpled blue uniform smeared with mud, resembling a soldier fallen in battle.

The prone figure was, in fact, cut down by an enemy, but not a human one. The mannequin of a Buffalo Soldier, a member of a group of African-American troops who were mustered at Jackson Barracks just after the Civil War to fight Indians in west Texas, was an exhibit in the historic post's Military museum, where Hurricane Katrina left more than 10 feet of water. To read more, click here.


November 4 article: French pledge cultural aid to stricken New Orleans.
A delegation from France visited hurricane-ravaged New Orleans on Friday to pledge cultural aid to the city that was once the capital of its vast Louisiana colony. To read more, click here.


November 1 Times Picayune article: TO THE RESCUE
At Monday's Restoration Road Show in Slidell, professional conservators reassure residents that all may not be lost to Katrina's floodwaters.

Lista Hank came oh-so-close to trashing the signed Al Hirschfeld lithographs that hung in her husband's study after they sat for days, and possibly weeks, in the floodwaters that ravaged the couple's Lakeview home. To read more, click here.


October 30 Advocate article: Museums need to reach out
In the confused aftermath of two hurricanes, museums need to make the public aware of their programs, and think creatively about the future, Michael Sartisky, executive director of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities told the Louisiana Museum Association at an awards luncheon at the Old State Capitol recently. To read more, click here.


October 28 Times Picayune article: Veterans of Hugo: Drop that crowbar. Group says homes often worth saving
The first inclination of most frustrated residents who return to New Orleans and find their homes damaged by floodwaters and mold is to rip out everything and start over.

It's a gut instinct that the Preservation Resource Center and the National Trust for Historic Preservation would like homeowners to ignore for now. To read more, click here.


October 28 Catholic News Service article: Archivists work to save parish sacramental records from mold, mildew
Although all of the records and artifacts most vital to the Archdiocese of New Orleans were saved before Hurricane Katrina struck Aug. 29, many of the individual parishes' sacramental records were lost or badly contaminated.

Charles Nolan, archivist for the New Orleans Archdiocese, and his counterpart in the Baton Rouge Diocese, Emilie Leumas, have been working feverishly to save the recovered records. They anticipate a new set of document preservation procedures will rise from the mold and mildew. To read more, click here.


October 23 Boston Globe article: In La., Acadian museum presses on. 2,000 artifacts were lost in floods
Less than 24 hours after Hurricane Rita left his hometown under water, Warren Perrin arrived to salvage what he could of the Acadian Museum he founded 15 years ago.

Marines, who were still rescuing residents from rooftops and porches, gave Perrin one truck and one hour. The water in front of the museum was 30 inches deep when he and three assistants pulled up.

''You just didn't have time to be heartbroken," Perrin said. ''We had to decide what to take and what to leave behind. For a while, we were all paralyzed."

His team grabbed as many of the museum's oldest one-of-a-kind originals as it could pack, including navigational maps, paintings, and artifacts that date from as far back as the 17th century. It also took piles of blankets and vintage clothes from a collection of 19th-century homespun goods that women from southwestern Louisiana had produced.

As for everything else the recovery team left behind, Perrin just had to hope for the best. To read more, click here.


October 22 Houston Chronicle article: A quarter of New Orleans housing may face bulldozers. Historical homes may be spared, but renovation costs are skyrocketing
As crews begin inspecting thousands of rotting houses and preservationists begin efforts to save them, city and federal officials say that 30,000 to 50,000 houses probably will have to be demolished.

That number represents up to a quarter of the city's housing. A few weeks from now, when bulldozers begin tearing into homes that once sheltered families and nest eggs, the city will experience one of its most painful moments after Hurricane Katrina. To read more, click here.


October American Library Association update: Hurricane Update: New Orleans Public Library
Nearly 200 New Orleans Public Library staff have been let go as part of Mayor Ray Nagin’s October 5 directive laying off 3,000 city employees in the wake of “financial constraints in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.”

City Archivist Wayne Everard told American Libraries that 181 NOPL staff members had been laid off and the remaining 19 have been retained as essential to the operation of city government. “Thus far,” he said, “we have been working on NOPL business, but if the city decides that we are needed for other tasks, we are subject to reassignment.” To read more, click here.


October 18 Times Picayune article: Preservation: A luxury or necessity in New Orleans? 
Decimated by citywide layoffs, the body that regulates architecture in the historic French Quarter took emergency action Tuesday in hope of keeping pace with the rush to repair hurricane-damaged buildings.

Vieux Carre Commission Chairman Dr. Ralph Lupin, a longtime French Quarter resident, said the commission would start swearing in volunteer staff and ask that the city's future requests from the National Guard include the use of soldiers with contracting backgrounds as inspectors. Lupin said the commission also would set up a fund and solicit donations. To read more, click here.


October 18 New York Times article: New Orleans Art Museum Reduces Staff
The New Orleans Museum of Art laid off 70 of its 86 employees this month as part of the city's broader efforts to balance its budget following the devastation of the hurricanes Katrina and Rita by terminating "nonessential" civil servants. It was yet another blow to New Orleans cultural institutions that have struggled for survival in the storms' wake.

The city-financed museum, which has been shut since the day before Katrina hit in late August, was instructed by the municipal government to keep only a minimal staff needed to administer the institution in its current closed state. To read more, click here.


October 13 Times-Picayune article: N.O. considers bypassing historic preservation law - Mayor's proposal draws criticism
An unsigned proclamation by New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin that would temporarily suspend the powers of city agencies that normally must sign off before buildings in the city's older neighborhoods can be torn down has preservationists fearing a spate of hasty demolitions of historic structures. To read more, click here.


October 13 PRNewswire article: Longue Vue House & Gardens, a National Historic Landmark in New Orleans currently celebrating its 25th anniversary, suffered substantial flood and wind damage from Hurricane Katrina. According to Executive Director Bonnie Goldblum, the eight-acre estate became "a lake" after the storm.  "Water poured in and flooded the gardens and basements throughout the grounds that held much of the mechanical systems for both the house and gardens," she explained. "Fortunately, the water stopped just inches short of entering the main floor of the house and other nearby structures that hold Longue Vue's collections.  Right now, we are battling the effects of no electricity, air conditioning or fountain pumps, which are essential to protect our collections."  To read more, click here.


October 13 Maine Antiques Digest article: New Orleans and the Gulf Coast Try to Reestablish the Art and Antiques Business.
The month after Hurricane Katrina was punctuated by the threat of Hurricane Rita, flaring recriminations among government officials, and the revelation of personal tragedies. Although this is not the place to cover the latter, every story about a museum or antiques business getting up and running has under the surface a dozen personal stories of loss and dislocation among the employees. People interviewed were somehow able to focus conversations on office or institution news when they themselves had no homes or present income from their careers. To read more, click here.


October 13 Times-Picayune article: Jewish scrolls saved from desecration - Woman rescues Jewish scrolls
Working alone with a shovel in her back yard two weeks after Hurricane Katrina, a Christian woman in River Ridge honored Jewish tradition and carefully buried the ruined sacred Torahs of a flooded New Orleans synagogue, to the relief of its distressed members who could not care for the scrolls themselves. To read more, click here.


October 10 NPR article: Homes Beat Floods; Will They Survive Rebuilding?
New Orleans' low-lying Ninth Ward suffered back-to-back floods as hurricanes Katrina and Rita rolled through the Gulf region. The historic Holy Cross neighborhood escaped much of the destruction, but residents are still concerned about the future of their 150-year-old neighborhood.

Holy Cross is full of indigenous New Orleans architecture, from shotgun houses to bungalows. But residents have been unable to survey damage since Katrina struck (though some have sneaked back in) and they are worried by rumors that most of the lower Ninth Ward might be bulldozed. To read more, click here.


October 4 Baton Rouge Advocate article: Recovery should preserve history
As the New Orleans area seeks to rebuild in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, it will have to strike a bargain between two principles of the recovery effort.

The first principle already has been widely expressed: The rebuilding should proceed with all due speed.

The second principle, one heard not quite as often, is that the recovery should unfold with care and proper planning.

New Orleans will have to make scores of thoughtful compromises in its recovery effort so that haste does not lead to waste, and nowhere does the need for prudence seem greater than in the case of the city's historical structures. To read more, click here.


October 2 NewYork Times article: Blanket of Mold Threatens Health and Homes
As residents of New Orleans begin to re-enter the homes and businesses left standing after Hurricane Katrina, many may face an obstacle more pervasive and possibly more dangerous than mud and rotting wood: mold spores reproducing inside tens of thousands of buildings.

Public health experts say mold could present significant risks and may force thousands of demolitions. To read more, click here.


October 1 LA Times article: STATE OF THE ART: worth the risk
"ART IS LONG, LIFE IS SHORT." Hippocrates made that observation more than two millenniums ago, and his works are pretty tough to get through these days unless you're a Latin scholar fueled with heavy doses of caffeine. But a group of low-level museum employees in New Orleans knows exactly what he meant.

During Hurricane Katrina, eight employees at the New Orleans Museum of Art, along with about 30 of their family members, showed their appreciation for art by risking their lives to save it. Starting on Aug. 27, with the hurricane bearing down on New Orleans and local officials issuing evacuation orders, they occupied the museum, taking paintings off the walls and protecting artwork in underground storage areas susceptible to flooding. To read more, click here.


September 28 Press Release from Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change:
Hooks Institute’s Katrina Task Force Announces “Reclaiming Existence” Project.

The “Saddest Days” project of the Katrina Task Force (KTF) at The University of Memphis’ Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change announces its latest initiative, “Reclaiming Existence: The New Orleans Document Preservation Project,” a collaborative effort headed by Dr. Clyde C. Robertson, Director of Africana and Multicultural Studies in the New Orleans Public School District, and Valerie Love, Hooks Institute Archivist.

The tragedy of the collapsed levees in New Orleans has jeopardized one of the largest, most variegated, and best preserved array of primary source materials documenting the accomplishments, culture, history, and struggles of members of the African diaspora for over 300 years . These artifacts range from rare photographs to Mardi Gras Indian costumes, from records of slavery to the Black Panther movement. They were not only housed in official museums and libraries, but were also treasured as family heirlooms in private homes and garages throughout the city. The “Reclaiming Existence” project will salvage and conserve historical materials located outside of established archives and manuscript repositories that are at risk of being lost forever, following the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath.

The “Reclaiming Existence” project will focus specifically on materials which document African and African American history, culture, and experience in New Orleans. To read more, click here.


September 28 American Library Association’s update on libraries:
State Library of Louisiana, September 28: Cameron Parish Library, Cameron: Director Charlotte Trosclair said September 28 the status of the libraries is not good. In Cameron there is just a slab left. There is nothing left of the two historical buildings of the Grand Chenier branch. There is nothing left of the Johnson Bayou branch. There is water in the Hackberry branch; she does not think it will be usable. The Grand Lake branch building seems OK. To read more, click here.


September 25 Baton Rouge Advocate article: Plan Would Restore State With Culture, Verve, Helping Hand
Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu and Angèle Davis, secretary of Louisiana's Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, announced a major plan last week to rebuild the state's tourism and cultural industries in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Named "Louisiana Rebirth: Restoring the Soul of America," the plan was developed in a remarkably short time. It's comprehensive. It focuses not on New Orleans alone, but all areas of the state. It involves people in multiple aspects of Louisiana's culture. To read more, click here.


September 23 Atlanta Journal-Constitution article: Charleston hit restart button: '89 hurricane wasn't death knell
New Orleans bred a unique culture unparalleled anywhere else in the world. Its language, cuisine, architecture, ironwork and music were distinctly its own. As New Orleans begins to rise from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, we cannot exacerbate the already staggering losses by allowing further demolition of what remains of the city's culture and history. What is left of New Orleans' architectural heritage must be preserved. To read more, click here.


September 22 New York Times article: Fine Old Plasterwork and Water Don't Mix
Water is the enemy of plaster. Earl A. Barthé, the 83-year-old master plasterer of New Orleans, knows this deep in his heart. And so he waits. For more than 150 years the Barthé family?like generations of other highly skilled plasterers, lathers, blacksmiths, masons, carpenters and contractors?has tended to its city's architectural soul. In an age of drywall, New Orleans is largely handmade, a city where louvered cypress shutters and filigree iron galleries greet the morning. To read more, click here.


September 21 USA Today article: Mold overtakes flooded city in a foul flourish
A throng of visitors has invaded the French Quarter, but they aren't tourists. They're mold spores, and they're taking hold and growing furiously everywhere. On antiques in shuttered shops. On the white tablecloths of empty cafes and restaurants. On the walls and furnishings of boutique hotels. On the green-spiked Cole Haan high heels and alligator pumps in a Canal Street department store window. To read more, click here.


September 21 ZAKA Rescue and Recovery article: Zaka in New Orleans: Recovering Victims and Torah Scrolls
In a unique operation, ZAKA and Louisiana National Guard volunteers, alongside a team assigned by the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), waded through waist-deep toxic floodwaters Tuesday to retrieve six Torah scrolls from Congregation Beth Israel, an Orthodox synagogue in New Orleans. To read more, click here.


September 20 Dallas Morning News article: Damage To History Assessed: Preservationists Get First Look At Damage To Historic Buildings
Over nearly three centuries, many of the buildings in this historic city have weathered the Civil War, epidemics and fire. But Hurricane Katrina swept in with a vengeance in August, punishing more than 20,000 of the old structures with wind and water damage. The National Shrine of St. Roch's Chapel was damaged by water, which is rotting pews in the historic structure. With Tropical Storm Rita looming and the possibility of rain bearing down on an already battered New Orleans, preservationists fear the worst. On Monday, preservationists made their first foray into some historical districts around the city and began their scramble to save damaged sites from the wrecking ball. But the tour barely touched the surface. With some areas still under water, the extent of the damage may not be known for some time. To read more, click here.


September 20 New York Times article:Trying to Resurrect the Body of a City Buried in Sludge and History
There were military and police vehicles on the ground and enough helicopters to wear grooves in the sky, all of them run by men and women seeking to secure this city's present and future. Amid them moved an unlikely caravan of people seeking to preserve its past. Richard Moe, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, toured several historic neighborhoods here on Monday, accompanied by a host of local housing preservationists, in an effort to remind officials that in the rush to clean up New Orleans, all should be mindful of its architectural legacy. To read more, click here.


September 19 New York Times article: New Orleans Museum Under Lock and Guard
It is a jarring sight: Two burly men carrying M-16 assault rifles on the marble steps of the New Orleans Museum of Art. Nearby, a sergeant from the Oregon Army National Guard, wearing dog tags, a brown T-shirt and camouflage pants, wields a leaf blower as if it too were a weapon. Any visitors had better be prepared to show some identification and provide a good reason for being here. Jacqueline L. Sullivan, deputy director, returned with armed guards. The museum withstood the fury of Hurricane Katrina, suffering little damage and no looting. Its well-regarded collections of French paintings, Japanese prints, African art, photographs and decorative objects survived. So did the artworks in a two-level underground storage area, despite flooding and a temporary loss of climate control. Even in the sculpture garden, where the storm toppled pine trees and ruined the landscaping, only one of 50 works was smashed. To read more, click here.


September 19 via e-mail from Meredith A. Lane: Forwarded from Hank Bart, Director, Tulane University Museum of Natural History Status of TUMNH Collections:
I am happy to report that all of our collection buildings survived the flooding and wind damage wrought by Hurricane Katrina. However, there are many downed trees and powerlines, and the buildings have been without power since Aug 29th. Also, there was considerable damage to a small quonset building where we store boats, a field vehicle and our dermestid colony. Due to the power outage, we do not have access to our file servers and will lose everything in our freezers. I am also concerned about pests attacking our mammal and bird collections. As an emergency measure, we plan to use PDB to fumigate the cases. We had suspended use of PBD years ago because of health concerns and because skeletons in the cases are stored in plastic boxes, which melt when exposed to PDB. If any of you have a supply of archival paper boxes that we can move skeletons to, please let me know. Other than this, our greatest need right now is restoring power and our computing infrastructure. I am looking into options for a better back-up power system to keep key equipment functioning on a more long-term basis in the event of another disaster like this. If any of you have suggestions, please let me know.


September 14, via e-mail from Priscilla Lawrence, Executive Director of The Historic New Orleans Collection:
Members of the staff of The Historic New Orleans Collection were able to enter the French Quarter this week with a State Police escort. Our buildings and collections are high and dry. Much of the material was moved to a generous and accommodating institution in another part of the state. Because the presence of armed forces is now pervasive, we feel that the museum is extremely secure. We hope to be back in operation as soon as city services have been restored.


September 14, Wall Street Journal article: Historic New Orleans Architecture Faces Threat of Being Lost to Floods
Several historic neighborhoods in New Orleans are in danger of being lost to flood damage and demolition crews, according to preservation groups. While the city's most famous historic areas—the French Quarter, the Garden District and the Warehouse District—were spared from the deluge caused by Hurricane Katrina, groups fear that several less-well-known historic areas received significant storm damage, from both wind and flooding. Now they fear they will be bulldozed. To read more, click here.


Private collections have also been affected. For more information on some examples, click here for a September 12 story from ComputerWorld on Iron Mountain Data Archives.


September 12 Chicago Tribune article on historic photographs. To read, click here.


September 9, via e-mail from Irene Wainwright:
New Orleans Public Library is delighted to be able to announce that the New Orleans City Archives is relatively safe. Although the majority of our records (as well as the 19th and early 20th century records of the Orleans Parish civil and criminal courts) are housed in the basement of the Main Library, some 18 feet below sea level, the basement remained essentially dry. Wayne Everard , our archivist, and I were able to get access to the building yesterday, along with another NOPL staff member and a representative of Munters. We discovered that the basement sustained NO FLOODING, although there is a very small amount of water in one area, possibly caused by sewer backup. This water caused no direct damage to records themselves.


September 9, article: Aquarium Animals to be Airlifted Out of New Orleans
Penguins, sea otters, rare Australian sea dragons and a 250-pound sea turtle named Midas—all survivors of Hurricane Katrin—were loaded into crates Friday to be airlifted out of the New Orleans Aquarium of the Americas. To read more, click here.


September 9, via e-mail:
The bunkers housing Tulane's museum collections are intact and no water around them. Except for possibility of mildew now that AC is off for lack of electricity, things should be safe and intact. Harold Dundee spent night of storm at his bunker where herpetology collection, mammals, birds, inverts are housed knows first hand what the situation was after storm. Lots of trees down so will be a while before one can access bunkers by road. Bunkers are not underground. They are concrete with dirt piled against rear and side walls and on roof. Big forest faces main building and Dundee's bldg. Wind did tear a plywood panel that was installed in from of one of the glass entry doors. Buildings could withstand a tornado. Bunkers stand about 41/2 feet above ground on what is modestly high ground as New Orleans area goes.


September 9, via e-mail from Ann Wakefield, Archivist, Notarial Archives:
The Notarial Archives is housed in two facilities, both right next to the Superdome. We have been working desperately since Hurricane Katrina struck to rescue our documents. On Tuesday of this week, two staff members and a representative of Munters, a recovery contractor, were finally able to assess the damage and condition of the documents. The 20th and 21st century records in our main office, located in the courthouse basement, experienced some flooding damage. Remarkably, the flood level in the basement reached only a couple of feet, much less than we expected to find. However, records on the bottom shelves took on water. In consultation with Munters personnel, we decided to pump out the basement and remove all materials. The records will be shipped out of New Orleans, stored, and treated. My administration intends to locate new, above-ground storage for these records. Eighteenth, 19th, and early 20th century records are housed in the Notarial Archives Research Center, across the street from the courthouse, on the third floor of what's called "the old Amoco building." Pictures of the damage to this facility are available at the following web site: Click on the "photos" link. On Tuesday, September 6, when the assessment was made, it was determined that the records had an acceptable level of moisture. This was great news to us. It was decided to stabilize the windows and pump in air conditioning to prevent further humidification. Unfortunately, the (privately owned) building's management is resisting this solution. They refuse to allow access to the building for air conditioning and are trying to force us to remove the materials, which in our view would be damaging in and of itself, not to mention extremely costly. But if that's our only option, we'll do it.


September 9 posting on the Archives and Archivists Listserv (sponsored by the Society of American Archivists): The D-Day Museum took minimal storm damage but was broken into by looters. Somehow the exhibits were not infiltrated though.


September 8 Los Angeles Times article: Among the ruins, something to build on
It is hard to imagine that any city has ever looked quite the way this one does right now. If you took a major metropolis famous for its canals—Amsterdam, say, or Venice, Italy—and jerked it violently to one side so that half its neighborhoods were flooded and the other half left to rot and stink in the late-summer sun, you might begin to approximate what Hurricane Katrina and subsequent flooding have done to New Orleans and its handsome, peeling polyglot buildings. To read more, click here.


September 8 Washington Postarticle: Planning for a New, Improved Orleans
Some things you just cannot rush, even after a catastrophe such as the one in New Orleans. To read more, click here.


September 7, via e-mail from Rebecca Hamilton, Louisiana State Library:
We are being helped tremendously by our colleagues. People are sending computers for our libraries to handle the huge number of evacuees needing to file FEMA paperwork online. I think we will get what we need. We still do not know the status of some of our libraries on the coast and this is where our focus will be when the water subsides. your help will be needed in the future as we rebuild and restock these libraries. Right now we are being flooded with help. Thanks to you all.


September 4 New York Times article: Toll Is Also Exacted on Gulf Region's Historical and Cultural Treasures.
The hurricane and the flood that followed took their toll on the cultural riches of New Orleans and the cities in its orbit. Museum directors were still struggling to gain a clear picture of the extent of losses, but some collections seem to have been spared, including the core holdings of the New Orleans Museum of Art, one of the most important in the Deep South. To read more, click here.


September 1 Washington Post article: Park Service Team Set to Rescue Years of Artifacts
Their bags are packed with safety glasses, gloves, masks, boots and suits. As soon as they hit the ground in New Orleans, they plan to set up triage tents and long tables. Then the emergency team from the National Park Service will begin its work: blotting, washing, drying, straightening and preserving centuries of historical artifacts that tell the story of one of the oldest U.S. cities. To read more, click here.


September 1 Times-Picayune article: Floodwater Stops Short of City Park Museum.
The New Orleans Museum of Art survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath without significant damage. But when Federal Emergency Management Agency representatives arrived in the area Wednesday, NOMA employees holed up inside the museum were left in a quandary: FEMA wanted those evacuees to move to a safer location, but there was no way to secure the artwork inside. To read more, click here.


September 1 New York Times article: A Sad Day, Too, for Architecture
New Orleans "also faces the loss of some of America's most notable historic architecture. Maybe not in the French Quarter, which may emerge relatively intact, or the Garden District, which was spared most of the flooding. The dangers lie in neighborhoods like Tremé and Mid-City, which extend along Bayou Road toward Lake Pontchartrain and are rich in 18th- and 19th-century homes, shops, churches and social halls. They have been badly hit by the violent winds or torrents of water. And so have hundreds of other important buildings and vernacular structures throughout the city and across the breadth of South Louisiana and the Gulf Coast." To read more, click here.


August 31, excerpt from a posting on the Archives & Archivists Listserv (sponsored by the Society of American Archivists):
The news yesterday from Tulane's emergency site said that there is an emergency leadership team in Jackson Mississippi from Tulane, now deciding on a plan, but since the second levee broke yesterday, I am less hopeful that this plan will let us go back and see how our repositories are faring.

The good news is that according to flood maps the area Uptown — where Tulane, Loyola, Xavier, Dominican archives ar—is on a higher ground than most in the city -by maybe a foot. The French Quarter is higher than other areas....and this is where Historic New Orleans Collection is located. The Notarial Archives are now in a tall building on an upper floor. What we need to worry about most is probably New Orleans Public Library. I believe the archival community can help in about a week with all this."


August 31, excerpt from a posting on Museum-L: The Audubon Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans apparently survived Hurricane Katrina relatively unscathed according to a report in The Baltimore Sun. According to Ron Forman, president of the Audubon Nature Institute that oversees the city's aquarium and zoo, only a few flamingos died and was little other loss of animal life. To read more, click here.


August 30, postings on the Archives and Archivists Listserv (sponsored by the Society of American Archivists) noted that damage is immense and extensive and many areas are underwater. Tulane's campuses were extensively damaged, and assessment of the damage is still going on, made more difficult by the lack of utilities and deteriorating conditions. To read more, click here.

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