Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans

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PRC Welcomes Director Danielle Del Sol Longtime Preservation in Print editor Danielle Del Sol selected for PRC’s top post BY Davis Allen THE FIRST TIME Danielle Del Sol visited New Orleans, she “knew.”   Friends had told her that New Orleans would captivate her. “I have long been passionate about historic buildings and streetscapes, and I also love jazz,” she said. “So they told me I had to see New Orleans for myself. I decided to visit while looking at graduate programs in historic preservation.” She arrived in the French Quarter late one evening, only to find her hotel overbooked. As an alternative, staff members led her to a charming historic cottage, owned by the hotel, on a residential street. “I couldn’t believe my good luck,” she said. “I dropped my bags and wandered along Chartres Street, captivated by the scale and beauty of the buildings, and by the mysterious passageways lit by gas lanterns. I was hooked.”   The next day she visited Tulane University, and sat in on part of a Preservation Matters symposium planned by Kenneth Schwartz, dean of the Tulane School of Architecture. “I heard preservation greats such as authors Ned Kaufman and Dan Bluestone debating complex issues I cared about, and then heard legend Gene Cizek, founder of Tulane’s preservation program, lecture on the absolutely unique architectural vernacular of southern Louisiana,” she said. “Within 24 hours of arriving, my soul had been stirred and my intellect was buzzing from new information,” she said. “I knew this was the place for me.”   Almost a decade later, Del Sol has been named the new executive director of the Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans. “From the time I was ac- cepted into Tulane’s Master’s of Preservation Studies program, blessings have rained upon me like nothing I have ever experienced —an amazing community of friends and colleagues, a fulfilling career and a wonderful family,” she said. “But no other place has ever inspired me to work harder or care more. New Or- leans is a treasure — it is an incredible honor to have the opportunity to serve in this role, to protect the historic built environment that gives us all so much.” ••• 22  PRESERVATION IN PRINT • DEL SOL was named the Preservation Resource Center’s new executive direc- tor at the beginning of February, following a several-month-long, competitive national search. Gaynell Lawrence, PRC board member and chair of the search committee that conducted the executive director search, said Del Sol was chosen after the committee looked at almost 250 applications from across the country, then narrowed the candidates in two rounds of interviews. “Danielle has a true vision,” Lawrence said. “When you walk away from her, you really believe that this city is in good care and that it will continue to be the city we all need it to be.”   Readers of Preservation in Print magazine know Del Sol well from her seven years there, first as deputy editor and then as editor for the past four years. In her tenure as editor, she led the magazine to win several first place awards from the New Orleans Press Club, as well as other significant awards and recognition. Del Sol also oversaw positive changes to the magazine’s format and features in order to enliven the content and look of the 43-year-old publication. She has also served as the organization's communications director for the past three years, overseeing the PRC's website and social media endeavors in addition to print materials and lobby exhibits.   She now becomes only the fourth executive director since the organization’s founding in 1974.   “I am eager to seize opportunities during this time of transition — for the PRC, for the city of New Orleans and for the field of historic preservation,” she said. Her tenure at the organization — which also includes such work as co-founding the group Melioristica to offer innovative programming to a new, younger audience of preservationists — and deep knowledge of preservation in New Orleans will help her bring stability to the PRC during this time of transition, while also readying the organization for evolution and growth. “There is so much opportunity for the PRC to refine the already impactful work we do and make it better than ever,” she said. “As the city celebrates its tricentennial, welcomes new councilmembers and a new mayor, it will need to address looming issues with infrastructure, pub- MARCH 2018