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IN brief Work begins on the Buddy Bolden House Buddy’s House Foundation, a nonprofit founded by Grammy Award-winning musician PJ Morton, has begun work on the historic Buddy Bolden house, at 2309 First St., to remediate blight citations issued by the City of New Orleans and to prepare the house, and its twin shotgun next door, for full renovations. The PRC connected the foundation to representatives at the Loui- siana State Historic Preservation Office last fall to get their guidance on a best path forward for renovations, as at least one of the homes — the one where Buddy Bolden spent his formative and most prolific years starting around 1887 — will be restored to a level of historic accuracy high enough to qualify the project for historic rehabilitation tax credits. State officials confirmed that the lean-to additions on the back of both houses were not original to the structure, and could be demolished without harming the historic integrity of either building. The City of New Orleans granted Buddy’s House Foundation per- mission to demolish those additions in late December. Other im- provements include repairs to the siding, windows, roof shingles and stucco. This permission was granted by the Safety and Permits office and also approved by the Historic District Landmarks Commission, which weighed in due to the Bolden Home’s status as a local landmark. These repairs must be completed in order to get the home into compliance. The property’s owner, as of December, was incurring a $100-a-day fine for the homes’ continued blighted status. The Pres- ervation Resource Center continues to act as a resource for Buddy’s House Foundation as it works to bring new life to this internationally significant jazz historical site. Historic St. Francis de Sales Church restored as Livaudais Hall For more than 150 years, the stately St. Francis de Sales Cath- olic Church has stood tall on the corner of Second Street and Loyola Avenue in Central City. Built in 1867, just two years after the Civil War, it served as a church parish until 2008, when it was sold by the Archdiocese of New Orleans and deconsecrated. The wooden church building remained vacant for nine years, until developer Peter Gardner pur- chased it in 2017 and commenced an extensive restoration of the property, saving as much of the historic architectural elements as possible. The former sanctuary is now an elegant church and events space, and the adjacent convent and rec- tory, built in the 1890s, are now apartments. The renovation wrapped up late last year, and the former church recently opened for private events and is looking for a permanent re- ligious tenant. The sanctuary’s 5,000-square-foot interior has a 40-foot domed ceiling and restored original cypress and pine columns, floors and altar area, as well as a 1,200-square- foot choir loft. Next to the church is a historic stone grotto that was built of stone ballast from ships that once plied the Mississippi River. While the original religious elements have been removed, the space still has a sacred feel. The church has been renamed Livaudais Hall in honor of the Faubourg Livaudais neighborhood in Central City. Dr. George acquires United Fruit Building Hand surgeon and real estate developer Dr. Eric George has acquired the century-old building at 321 St. Charles Ave. Built in 1920, the building was the headquarters for the United Fruit Company, which, in its heyday, wielded enormous power in several countries. “For much of the 20th century, the American banana company United Fruit dominated portions of almost a dozen countries in the Western Hemisphere,” according to 2008 article in The New York Times. The building still bears the name of the United Fruit Company, and features an ornate entryway decorated with cornucopias. George acquired the property with several investors, including Allan McDonnel, in a partnership spear- headed by George and his investment company, ERG Enterprises. The partnership group has not finalized how it intends to develop the property, according to the press release. “Acquiring the United Fruit Company building is an important milestone for us at ERG Enterprises,” George said in an emailed statement. “It continues our commitment to preserving historic landmarks in New Orleans. Over the past 10 years of acquiring iconic properties such as this one, we have learned that it’s important to take the necessary time to truly understand the history of the property. This ensures that we can preserve and present its history accurately to current and future generations, especially as we make necessary renovations and enhancements. We are still improving how we approach this process. Among the many strategies that we have on the table, we are strongly considering public outreach to commission the help of historians and institutions that can aid us in this effort. We will make our best effort to maintain the property’s rich history and make it more accessible to everyone interested in experiencing it.” Dr. George, a West Virginia native, is a surgeon, real estate developer and investor whose work has focused on his- toric properties, including the Pythian, the Orpheum Theater, the Pontchartrain Hotel and the Windsor Court, among others. He shared his thoughts on the importance of historic preservation in the December issue of Preservation in Print. “I first became interested in preservation through my work as a physician,” he said. “I have always been a curious caregiver who is innately interested in the lives of my patients. When I first started living and practicing in New Orleans 25 years ago, it didn’t take long for me to learn about our great city, and particularly about its historic monuments. My patients often shared stories from their past interacting with our most iconic structures — the Orpheum Theater is a great example. These stories were deeply personal and meaningful to the point that I came to appreciate these landmarks as more than architecture but living organisms giving New Orleans its character.” Through his investment company, ERG Enterprises, George has become part owner of the Pontchartrain Hotel, Omni Royal Orleans Hotel, Westin Canal Place, The Frenchmen Hotel, The Thompson Hotel Nashville and The Hyatt Regency New Orleans. George also is the founder and CEO of the Hand Center of Louisiana, CEO of Omega Hospital and chairman of East Jefferson Ambulatory Surgical Center. 14 PRESERVATION IN PRINT • PRCNO.org FEBRUARY 2020