The Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans is issuing a request for proposals for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Holy Aid and Comfort Spiritual Church, located in the New Marigny Historic District.

Constructed circa 1880 for the Perseverance Benevolent and Mutual Aid Society, the structure at 1644 North Villere Street hosted performances by early jazz pioneers such as Sidney Bechet, Isadore Barbarin, Joe “King” Oliver and Buddy Bolden. The mutual aid society was one of the first in the city and a cornerstone of New Orleans’ African American community for more than a century. Sometimes known simply as Perseverance Hall (but not to be confused with a structure of the same name in what is now Armstrong Park), the building was altered around 1927 when a wooden Spanish Mission-style parapet was added to the façade. A camelback addition at the rear served to lodge traveling musicians. Hurricane Katrina severely damaged the camelback, and it was removed. Tragically, grant-funded restoration efforts were underway when Hurricane Ida struck another blow. High winds collapsed the partially complete rear wall and a portion of the roof. The side walls also suffered structural damage. The entire structure, apart from the now stabilized façade, foundation piers and sill plate, has collapsed.

Purchased by the founding minister of Holy Aid and Comfort Spiritual Church of Eternal Life in 1949, the building remains in the hands of a small congregation. Rev. Harold Lewis, a retired NOPD officer, hopes to reopen its doors for services, musical concerts, and as a space for the community to gather. The PRC seeks to facilitate the survival and rehabilitation of the building and has no authority over the use or maintenance of the building after this project is completed.  

The project will include the restoration of the front facade and the reconstruction of the building. The PRC is looking to engage a firm that has significant historic rehabilitation experience to ensure that recommendations consider Secretary of Interior Standards and all best practices. 

Proposals are due on June 5, 2024. If you would like to express interest or schedule a site visit please contact Michelle Shoriak,