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The Preservation Resource Center celebrated its 50th Annual Meeting at our headquarters on Tchoupitoulas Street on May 9. In addition to inaugurating our new Board of Directors and officers, we heard reflections from three of the PRC’s giants: longtime Executive Director Patty Gay, three-time-Board President Sonny Shields, and former Board President Naydja Bynum.

They shared many great stories from the organization’s formidable history, including the PRC’s effort to move a Creole cottage into the Convention Center for an exhibit at the 1984 World’s Fair; revitalizing 604 Julia St. into PRC’s first headquarters at a time when the whole block was known as “Skid Row;” saving historic downtown buildings from demolition when Harrah’s casino came to town; and bringing resources to a devastated populace after the levees broke following Hurricane Katrina. The impact that the PRC’s work has had over 50 years is incredible to consider.

Also incredible to consider is what the city might look like now had PRC not been founded in 1974. What buildings would be lost? What neighborhoods abandoned?

The PRC’s work has always relied on people seeing the “why” behind our work. In order to protect the places that mean the most to them, residents must understand how inextricably linked preservation is to our quality of life. From the start, the PRC has been educating residents on the “why” of historic preservation, while also instructing on the “how to” with classes and hands-on
help. The founders of this organization were prophetic, understanding that they had to reach people in a myriad of ways — through publications, classes, lectures, fun events, meetings at City Hall and legislation — in order to fulfill their mission to save historic buildings and neighborhoods. They were holistic before “holistic” was a widely embraced concept.

And the approach has stood the test of time. We met for our 50th Annual Meeting as an organization stronger than ever. More effective than ever. And standing at the precipice of the next 50 years, ready and excited for the opportunities to safeguard this
incredible, unique historic city.

Danielle Del Sol is the Executive Director of the Preservation Resource Center.

PRC Board of Directors 2024–2025

At its May 9 Annual Meeting, the PRC’s membership unanimously approved a new Executive Committee slate and new board members. They are:

President: Aulston Taylor
Vice President: Hartley Crunk
Secretary: Jessie Haynes
Treasurer: Jonathan Howe
Ex Officio: Charles Urstadt
At Large: Clay Colton, Nomita Joshi-Gupta, Mike Katz, Chris Kornman, Sarah Martzolf

New Board Members: Paola Corrada, Penny Francis, Erin Hymel, W. Robert Lay

Click here for a complete list of board members.

Meet your new PRC Board President Aulston Taylor

Aulston Taylor is the President and Chief Executive Officer of St. Augustine High School,
a Catholic high school for young men. He has served in the role for more than two years.

Prior to becoming the leader of St. Augustine, Aulston spent two years as the school’s Chief Development Officer from February 2019 to April 2021. While in this role — and during the height of the pandemic in 2020 — Aulston secured the largest one-time gift in the school’s history of $1.5 million from the Start Small Fund created by philanthropist Jack Dorsey. Since Aulston joined the school, St. Augustine’s fundraising efforts have yielded more than $18 million in five years.

A former media and sales executive, Aulston spent 17 years in New York City working for various networks, such as BET Networks a division of Paramount, ESPN Networks under The Walt Disney Company and Discovery Communications, now known as Warner Bros. Discovery. In his final year (2018) as a Sales Executive at BET Networks, Aulston was recognized by the organization as the New Business Salesperson of the Year.

Aulston is a New Orleans native, hailing from Tremé, and a graduate of St. Augustine
High School. He has a bachelor’s degree from Texas Southern University and a master’s from New York University. He is active across the city; in addition to his role at PRC, he is a member of the board of the New Orleans African American Museum (NOOAM); a Trustee of the New Orleans Museum of Arts (NOMA); a member of the board for the Louisiana Museum Foundation and the Lower Garden District Association. He is also a member of the SPS Board at New York University.

Celebrating 50 years of historic preservation

The Presevation Resource Center recently celebrated its 50th anniversary with a star-studded gala. Held at the stunning Sazerac House, the glamourous event honored the work of the PRC and its longtime former executive director Patricia H. Gay, who served the organization for 37 years. The party featured live music, cocktails, a silent auction, raffles and more, all to celebrate 50 years of protecting and preserving the historic architecture and neighborhoods of New Orleans.