This news brief appeared in the August/September issue of PRC’s Preservation in Print magazine. Interested in getting more preservation stories like this delivered to your door? Become a member of the PRC for a subscription!
The owner of the historic Buddy Bolden house, at 2309 First St., has been cited by the Historic District Landmarks Commission for Demolition by Neglect. The humble, circa-1880 shotgun house’s sills, piers, studs, weatherboards, gutters and downspouts, roof shingles, steps and stucco at the chain wall are all in deteriorating condition, according to the bright orange notice pasted to the front door of the house in mid-July.
In January, Grammy-award-winning musician PJ Morton’s foundation bought the property for $1 from Greater St. Stephen Ministries, the church run by his parents, pastors Paul S. Morton and Debra B. Morton, according to a report in The Times-Picayune|NOLA.com. The church had owned the buildings for years.
PJ Morton has previously touted his plans to restore the building into a small museum dedicated to Bolden’s life and the influence of his music. Morton created the Buddy’s House Foundation to handle the renovation, but little to no discernable work has taken place on the building in years.
In 2019, Morton reached out the Preservation Resource Center for help in renovating the house, but after the PRC met with him several times, offering assistance, nothing progressed.
“For well over a decade people have been asking them to either fix it up and give it the proper respect that it deserves, or let someone else who is willing to do that do it,” PRC Executive Director Danielle Del Sol said to The Times-Picayune. “There are people who care deeply— there are people who would be willing to make the investment to save this building.”