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FEMA Section 106 Notices for Louisiana
Comment on "Public Notice Regarding Historic Review of the St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Church, 5500 Paris Avenue, New Orleans, Louisiana with linked PDF attachments "
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Name: Name redacted at the request of the author
City: New Orleans, LA
Specific
property
affected:
5500 Paris Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70122
Comments: As ae former employee of Cabrini, I can attest to the maintenance nightmare that Cabrini church and school were. The school was falling apart, and looked awful (the school was built in the same style as the church, so why isn't it being considered for the historical places list too?) The church was in CONSTANT disrepair, and cost the parishioners an unbelievable amount of money in repairs. Monthly operating costs ran near $8,000. The parish was in debt due to spending so much on maintenance and repairs. It took renting a cherry picker to change light bulbs. The heavy steel and glass doors were hung on wooden frames, which were rotten and enabled the rain to blow right in. A child's finger was amputated by the weight of one of those doors. Several of the doors were permanently locked because of their disrepair. There was NO ONE in the city qualified to repair them. The roof leaked to the point of lawsuits because people slipped in standing water INSIDE. The dome of the baptismal area had to be replaced due to water pouring inside every time it rained, and the air conditioning/heating had to be completely replaced by tearing out walls. That wasn't very good architectural planning. The sound system didn't work, and we were unable to use the wiring due to its being laid into the floors and walls, thus leaving no access. Most people didn't know these things. This church is architecturally interesting, but by no means historic. It's age is younger than many of the architecturally interesting homes in the neighborhood, and demolition of those homes wasn't stopped. The church stuck out in our neighborhood because it's architectural style was completely different from the ranch-style and raised cottage homes that we lived in.

The parish is not supressed, rather on-hold, and even though the parishioners have some insurance money to rebuild, it would not be enough to repair and sustain the church building. We had trouble doing that before the hurricane. The number of parishioners that it would take to maintain the cost of running this building is far below the realistic amount of families that will be back in the neighborhood for several years unless Holy Cross breathes new life there. If Holy Cross does not demolish and rebuild on that site, the church will remain the way it is now, an eyesore and great impediment to our rebirth. I'm ready to go home, but don't want to live in a neighborhood with a gated and abandoned city block.