||Demolition of these historic structures should be the last alternative - not the first and only option. The goals of the City of New Orleans and preservationists are not mutually exclusive. Maintaining historic integrity, meeting programmatic needs, and having low maintenance can be easily achieved through restoration. Depending on your point of view, these goals may appear to have different meanings. Low maintenance to the City may be cinder block buildings, but to many New Orleanians, it is wooden structures that have endured for over 100 years. The programmatic uses for the buildings are not hard to meet - just storage area for small equipment. But historic integrity requires a level of authenticity that cannot be achieved with cinder block construction.
These cemeteries are not only sacred and important to our history; but they also attract people from all over the world who want an authentic historic experience. They provide another economic driver for the city in terms of tours and filming locations. It is in the public and city's best interest to restore these building correctly - so that the history lives on. It is hard to imagine anyone will look back at new cinder block construction with pride, particularly knowing what was demolished to build them.
These cottages are important. And there are alternatives to demolition. We have many professionals in our midst that have volunteered to help. These buildings are quite small and could be restored with experienced volunteer labor if necessary. At the very least, citizens should know the monetary difference between restoring the structures versus demolishing and rebuilding using cinder blocks clad in Hardie board. It is probably less then $50,000 for Lafayette #1, Lafayette #2 and Holt Cemeteries.
$50,000 in the scheme of the $2.6MM city bond for cemetery improvements doesn't seem overwhelming. Maybe private funding could be raised to contribute to the $2.6MM city bond to save the historic structures and rebuild them correctly.