Pending demolition permits affect historic neighborhoods

Update, September 3, 2020: At its September 2 meeting, the New Orleans Historic District Landmarks Commission (HDLC) denied permits to property owners seeking full demolition of houses in the Freret, Upper Audubon and Upper Hurstville neighborhoods. In doing so, the commissioners sided with Preservation Resource Center and the city’s own professional staff. Permit applicants may appeal decisions of the HDLC to City Council.

The commission reluctantly granted demolition of a home in Mid-City which had suffered significant structural deterioration after a stalled renovation allowed prolonged exposure to the elements.

The commission also declined to name two deteriorating Central City homes built between 1860 and 1880 to the city’s list of local landmarks, indicating their age alone was not sufficient justification for landmark status.

Just two months after the New Orleans Historic District Landmarks Commission (HDLC) denied demolition permits for adjacent homes on Cromwell Place following a litany of public comments, the owners of four other homes in historic neighborhoods are seeking to demolish their houses.

The HDLC will evaluate these demolition permit requests at its meeting on Sept. 2 at 1:30 p.m. Find links to view the commission’s Zoom meeting and submit comments at

See below for a list of the properties; not included are partial demolitions for construction, such as a camelback addition or demolition of structures deemed to lack historic significance. Information on the permit requests can be obtained by searching the relevant address in the city’s online One Stop App.

In local historic districts, the HDLC may approve or deny a demolition request, but owners can appeal to the New Orleans City Council. In other older neighborhoods, the City Council may act directly to forestall demolitions within the Neighborhood Conservation District, an overlay intended to provide a measure of protection to areas recognized on the National Register of Historic Places but not within local historic districts.

Neighborhoods affected:

  • Mid-City [327 S Hennessey St.]
  • Freret [2326 Robert St.]
  • Upper Audubon [465 Audubon St.]
  • Upper Hurstville [1230 Webster St.]


Demolition requests before the Historic District Landmarks Commission

327 S. Hennessey St.  Map it!

photo: Google, 2018

This bungalow was one of many homes photographed for a post-Katrina survey of the Mid-City National Register Historic District. Those images show exposed rafter tails, casement window and triplicate porch columns associated with the early 20th century Arts and Crafts style. Some work has transpired since but many of those details remain.


2326 Robert St. Map it!

photo: Google, 2019

Here’s another Arts and Crafts bungalow, this one in the Freret neighborhood. It has been altered over time, including with a brick facade, but retains its characteristic form and telltale details.

465 Audubon St. Map it!

photo: Google, 2019

Last year, the owners of this home near Audubon Park received permits to demolish a later addition (roughly the right half of the structure as shown above) and move this house to another area on the same lot. Their stated motives included protecting the health of large live oaks. With the partial demolition now completed, the owners are headed back to the commission seeking a full demolition.


1230 Webster St. Map it!

photo: Google, 2019

The decorative stained glass, stuccoed gable ends, Queen Anne windows and working louvered shutters signal grand days behind this two-story home. Faded paint and missing shutters point to deferred maintenance, but the commission will have to determine if the deterioration justifies demolition.

Nathan Lott is the policy research director and advocacy coordinator for the Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans.