This story appeared in the April issue of PRC’s Preservation in Print magazine. Interested in getting more preservation stories like this delivered to your door nine times a year? Become a member of the PRC for a subscription!
St. Anna’s Episcopal Church recently began renovation work on the 1846 Dodwell House, an American-style cottage at 1519 Esplanade Ave. Michelle Stanard Duhon of Southkick Historic Preservation is working with the church on the project. Plans are to renovate the building for use as a community resource center to expand the church’s Anna’s Place NOLA program, which offers after-school care, support to children in the neighborhood, a food pantry and homeless outreach.
“Among the many uses for this community resource center will be our featured program, Anna’s Place NOLA, which seeks to empower children who are under-served in our community and to provide those children with Arts Enhancements, STEM introduction and life skill instruction,” according to the church’s website. “Breaking the cycle of violence, poverty and social estrangement takes social investment. That starts with programs like this and community centers like Dodwell House.
Duhon said the church plans to use historic tax credits on the renovation project. “The complex is strikingly complete down to the original 1846 floor plan, the dependency/slaves’ quarters in the back, original millworks, original plaster, original fireplaces, etc.,” she said, adding that it was built by two free men of color.
Planning for the project began two years ago, according to the church website. “With the support of local architects experienced in historic preservation, the final plans are drawn and construction should begin in the first quarter of 2021, with the goal of moving in by the beginning of 2022,” the website said.
“The total cost of the Dodwell House capital expansion program is projected to be $4.2 million. This includes the cost of creating, equipping and operating a space fit for our program needs, while also sustaining Dodwell House and Anna’s Place programs for the first five years,” according to the website. Anna’s Place serves an at-risk community where “high rates of poverty and unemployment, lack of education, poor healthcare and homelessness combine to create a threatening mixture. We are steadfast in our vision of a community where poverty and violence no longer make their home,” the church said.
Header image by Infrogmation of New Orleans