If you’re looking for THE Sustainability Symposium of the Season, then look no further. The APT (Association for Preservation Technology International) Annual Conference this year has a Sustainability track and a separate Symposium following the conference. Where? Montréal, Quebec. When? October 13-17th.

Downtown Montreal from Mount Royal Park.

Downtown Montreal from Mount Royal Park.

APT is one of the founding members of our Sustainable Preservation Coalition (and okay, full disclosure, I am the immediate Past President of APT) and the APT Bulletin on Sustainability which came out of APT’s first symposium on Sustainability and Preservation at the Halifax conference in 2005, set the tone for much of the current thinking and policy creation. This is also the 40th Anniversary of APT (a joint American – Canadian organization) and the Conference whose theme is "Moving Forward, Looking Back", is on target to be one heck of a good time too.

So the good news – there are still spots available for the Symposium (description below)  being held at the Centre des Sciences in the Old Port and the  totally cool, hip and modern Biosphere . (Worth the $450 just to get to hang out at these inspiring places and pontificate for 2 days!). The bad news – it’s filling up quickly as is the conference. Most of the field sessions are booked and the special events are close to selling out. If you really want to be a part of the dialogue between people creating the baseline for “green preservation” – then this is a must.

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The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Barbara Campagna

Barbara A. Campagna, FAIA, LEED AP BD+C was formerly the Graham Gund Architect of the National Trust in the Stewardship of Historic Sites office. She is currently a sustainability consultant to the National Trust and can be reached at bcampagna@bcampagna.com.

Notes from New Orleans: Holy Cross Projects Sustain "No Significant Damage"

Posted on: September 2nd, 2008 by National Trust for Historic Preservation 1 Comment

 

Home Again! projects in Holy Cross weathered the storm well.

Home Again! projects in Holy Cross weathered the storm well.

The Holy Cross neighborhood looks very good the day after Gustav passed through Louisiana. Although heavy winds downed a few trees and one electrical pole, the neighborhood is clear of any major debris. The streets are fully passable. Luckily, there was no significant damage seen on the exterior of the homes in the neighborhood. Though there is no electrical service at the moment in the neighborhood, all of the HOME AGAIN! projects looked safe and secure -- even one that is currently undergoing major exterior framing.

Despite being only partially completed, the renovation of Mrs. Skidmore's home withstood the hurricane.

Despite being only partially completed, the renovation of Mrs. Skidmore's home withstood the hurricane.

Walter Gallas and I had been at the home, owned by Mrs. Imelda Skidmore, on Friday for the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, and had assisted in removing potential flying debris from the property. Our efforts – and that of the workmen who secured the home – appears to have paid off, as the only damage was small segments of torn roofing paper, and we’re still on schedule to have Mrs. Skidmore and her daughter back home later this fall.

Another undamaged Home Again! project in Holy Cross.

Another undamaged Home Again! project in Holy Cross.

We are fortunate down here in New Orleans today. There was very little flooding during the storm, and today the streets are dry and the sky is blue. The same appears to be true for the historic districts along the river that I passed as I made my way to the Preservation Resource Center where the National Trust for Historic Preservation New Orleans Field Office is housed. While there was no electrical service in the 9th ward, street lights started working on Franklin Avenue. One or two spots after Franklin had no electricity, but the Quarter and the warehouse district are fine. I am also happy to report that our offices received no damage; the power, computers and phone system are all working fine. Lastly, there is a heavy police and National Guard presence in the streets and no evidence of any problems regarding vandalism.

-- Kevin Mercadel

Kevin is a Program Officer at the National Trust for Historic Preservation's New Orleans Field Office.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

National Trust for Historic Preservation

National Trust for Historic Preservation

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded non-profit organization, works to save America's historic places.

Notes from New Orleans: Evacuation & Early Reports

Posted on: September 1st, 2008 by Walter Gallas

 

Northbound I-55, Mile 1, Sunday morning, August 31

Northbound I-55, Mile 1, Sunday morning, August 31.

Watching the early reports of Gustav's effects on New Orleans from my viewpoint in St. Louis, I see that at least right now we will need to keep an eye on three areas -- neighborhoods in and near the Upper 9th Ward, the Lower 9th Ward, and the West Bank.

Whatever happens with the floodwall lining both sides of the Industrial Canal, waters pushing in from Lake Pontchartrain will affect neighborhoods on either side like Holy Cross, Bywater, St. Roch, and conceivably Treme and the French Quarter. On the West Bank, water pushing in from the Gulf side, will affect the West Bank including Algiers Point.

Clearly, it is too early to make any definitive calls, and with the storm heading away from the city, we could be out of the woods. In any case, we are all looking at this, and beginning to make some measured determinations as to what the National Trust for Historic Preservation will be ready to do once the storm passes and residents return.

Early Sunday morning, I left New Orleans at 4:30 am to get caught up in the mind-bending experience of "contraflow" -- the reverse commuting out of the city. Three hours after my departure, I had progressed 27 miles to the beginning of I-55. Traffic ground to a halt, and so antsy motorists jumped out of their vehicles to walk pets, visit with family members in other vehicles, and just stretch.

Nineteen hours later -- after finally abandoning the interstate for state route 61 through Port Gibson, Vicksburg, and Clarksdale, Miss., I arrived in St. Louis. This is a trip that should normally take about 10 hours.

***

Updated to add photo.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Notes from New Orleans: Preparing for Gustav

Posted on: August 30th, 2008 by Walter Gallas 4 Comments

 

Friday morning on Royal Street in the French Quarter

Friday morning on Royal Street in the French Quarter

With Gustav churning just outside the Gulf, New Orleans made preparations even as citizens also did what they could to focus on commemorations of the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, which devastated the region on August 29, 2005.

On Friday, Kevin Mercadel and I spent part of the Katrina anniversary at one our HOME AGAIN! New Orleans projects, the home of Mrs. Imelda Skidmore, in Holy Cross, making sure that the building was stable and secure. Workmen nailed cross-pieces and enclosed the newly-framed rear addition, while Kevin and I worked to dismantle the remnants of a large above-ground swimming pool in the back yard.

Preparations in Holy Cross.

Staff members of our partner, the Preservation Resource Center, spent Friday securing their headquarters, warehouse and the building projects of Operation Comeback and Rebuilding Together, and working out communications and computer issues.  AmeriCorps staff working with Rebuilding Together's director Kristen Palmer has been trained to assist with the evacuation of citizens from the Union Passenger Terminal, where those without personal transportation are placed on trains or buses for trips to shelters in North Louisiana and in Memphis. There are no shelters provided in the city. The AmeriCorps members will remain until eight hours before landfall and then caravan by cars to Atlanta.

Projections of the hurricane's general direction at this writing peg its landfall west of New Orleans. Leaders of all surrounding parishes have called for mandatory evacuations, and Mayor Nagin has said citizens should evacuate now as well. Hotels are evicting tourists--many of them who came here for the Labor Day's large gay celebration Southern Decadence. The airport closes for commercial traffic Sunday at 6 p.m. A call for mandatory evacuation from New Orleans is likely tomorrow.

Getting Ready for Gustav.

Getting Ready for Gustav.

I anticipate leaving New Orleans early Sunday morning and driving north on I-55. It's tough making plans, not knowing what will really happen in the city, but I prefer to be conservative and cautious. Kevin's and our new staff member Stacey Danner's plans were to head up toward Baton Rouge.

Landfall, wherever it is, will be very early on Tuesday. Later that day, we all plan to convene by phone with National Trust for Historic Preservation headquarters and Southern office staff to assess where things are and how we will move forward.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Chili Dogs and Historic Neighborhoods

Posted on: August 26th, 2008 by Matt Ringelstetter 2 Comments

 

Is there anything better than taking an extended lunch on a sunny Friday afternoon? There is if that extended lunch includes a chili dog block party. Celebrating their 50th year (50 years!) in operation, DC institution Ben's Chili Bowl threw a party for the U Street neighborhood this past Friday.

Ben and Virginia Ali opened their small restaurant in the renovated Minnehaha Theatre in August of 1958. The theater was originally constructed in 1910 and had hosted silent movies prior to becoming a pool hall. Situated along the U Street corridor Ben's has been a staple within the neighborhood that has long been the center of Washington, D.C. music and culture. Historic Jazz clubs like the Howard Theatre, the Bohemian Caverns, and the Lincoln Theatre hosted performers such as Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald, creating a scene that was referred to as "Black Broadway," well before the rise of Black Harlem. "The Bowl" has hosted its share of celebrities, serving its delicious chili and half-smoke sausages to the likes of Miles Davis, Cab Calloway, Nat King Cole, Redd Foxx, Dick Gregory and even Martin Luther King Jr. Ben's most dedicated customer, Bill Cosby, even courted his wife, Camille, here in the early 1960's.

Ben's has been witness to decades of history and neighborhood regeneration, and if the crowd that turned out Friday for lunch is any indication, it will continue to do so for years to come. The line to get a half-smoke on Friday extended well out the door, into the street, wrapping around the Green Line Metro station. In the end, as you can plainly see, the wait was worth it.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.