I spoke at a community meeting in Baton Rouge called by a neighborhood organization to hear about the Baton Rouge school board’s plans for Baton Rouge High School, built in 1926 and individually listed in the National Register of Historic Places. In addition to the Trust, the preservation side was very ably represented by the Foundation for Historical Louisiana, and the Louisiana Trust for Historic Preservation, two long-time Trust partners.
The school board has appointed a sub-committee, which is charged with making a recommendation by early next year on the school’s future. There is plenty of support in the community and among alumni and students to save the school, but financing the school’s renovation will be a challenge. Many communities around the country have dealt with similar situations, and the National Trust will continue to be a resource and advocate for historic preservation and creative renovation of the school.
Walter Gallas is director of the New Orleans Field Office.