Louisiana Trust for Historic Preservation (LTHP) announced additions to Louisiana’s Most Endangered Places List Monday. Representatives from many of the 15 sites added were present to discuss the importance of their locations and circumstances threatening them. Since 1999, the Louisiana Trust has highlighted endangered historic sites and advocated for their preservation and protection. The list is generated from nominations made by the public and aims to attract creative approaches and resources to see the sites saved and rehabilitated. Challenges faced by properties on this year’s list range from demolition by neglect and lack of funding for maintenance, to pressures from unsympathetic development and rising sea level.
A historic preservation report found that between 2007-16, nearly $2.7 billion was invested in Louisiana’s historic buildings as a direct result of state and federal rehabilitation tax credits. These projects created an average of 1,725 direct jobs and an additional 1, 429 indirect and induced jobs, such as tourism. Among those added to the list are local structures:
Hodges Gardens (1950s) – Florien, Sabine Parish This 60-acre “Garden in the Forest” is a diverse collection of mid-century “Googie” style pavilions amid naturalistic plantings. What began as a weekend retreat for Shreveport oil and timber businessman, A.J. Hodges and his wife, Nona Trigg Hodges, became a popular tourist destination. Added to National Register of Historic Places in 2015 on multiple merits. Operated by the A.J. and Nona Trigg Hodges Foundation from 1959 to 2007 and later donated to LA Office of State Parks. Budget constraints forced the state park to close and the property reverted back to the family foundation in 2017.
Infrastructure needs and closure of the site threaten the longevity of the collection. Badin-Roque House (1770s) – Natchez, Natchitoches Parish Perhaps the oldest structure on Isle Brevelle, in Louisiana’s Cane River National Heritage Area is a simple one-story cottage constructed in a style known as poteaux-en-terre (posts-in-ground).
The Badin-Roque House is one of only a few remaining examples of this type of construction, once popular amongst early French settlers. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980, at a level of national significance. The structure is threatened by damage from insects and water. Owned by St. Augustine Historical Preservation Society. Mark Guidry.
Roque House (1797) – Natchitoches, Natchitoches Parish Constructed by a freed slave along the banks of the Cane River, the house served as a residence and as a convent for French nuns. Moved 22 miles to Natchitoches in 1967, to save it from demolition by neglect. March 2016 flooding inundated the house to a depth of 12 inches, causing settling of the structure and damage to the bousillage (mud & moss) walls. Owned by NHD. Kathy Seymour.