New Orleans Preservation Efforts Get Boost After Katrina | WABE 90.1 FM

New Orleans Preservation Efforts Get Boost After Katrina

Aug 27, 2015

Shotgun-style homes are a hallmark of New Orleans neighborhood architecture.
Credit Nick Normal /

Maintaining the distinctive look and feel of New Orleans architecture had been a significant undertaking long before Hurricane Katrina hit 10 years ago.

Massive water damage sparked renewed efforts not only to save historic homes in iconic neighborhoods but also to pass along an appreciation of a home-building style described as a “dying art.”

“City Lights” executive producer Noel Morris recently spoke with Patricia Gay, executive director of the Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans about post-hurricane preservation work.

By the time of Katrina’s arrival in late August 2005, Gay said, “the city was in pretty good shape. ... people were moving back into historic neighborhoods.”

As homeowners began assessing the damage, the National Trust for Historic Preservation stepped in right away.

While wood floors could be saved -- after thoroughly drying out -- moldy plaster and sheetrock had to be removed.

Gay’s organization secured grants to train individuals in the process of plaster-building, a staple of New Orleans home construction that she says is on the decline.

“It’s a challenge to make sure that people understand the value of what they have in an old house,” Gay said.