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FEMA Section 106 Notices for Louisiana
Comment on "Public Notice Regarding Section 106 Review of State of Louisiana, LA Department of Education/Recovery School District (RSD) Proposal to Demolish the Thomy Lafon Elementary School, 2601 Seventh Street, New Orleans, LA - Seeking Public Comment"
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Name: Name redacted at the request of the author
City: New Orleans, Louisiana
Lafon Elementary School, 2601 Seventh St.
Comments: The building should go. The question is, do we value the documented history of that school site, or do we value a building? Do we remember a man named Lafon who long ago built a school house for black children that was burned down by "an angry white mob" or do we remember an architect who in the mid 20th century along with his associates knowingly built a school on top of a black cemetery? Do we celebrate the future of a new community and let past insensitivities and paternalism go? I think we should let this building go. It represents a negative past. Imagine being a child on the day that school building opened. Would it look warm and welcoming to you? Or would it look cold and institutional and foreign? (Or today, kind of like a long truck container on stilts). Did it look like the elegant brick schools white children attended? And why did children have to go outside on a balcony to get from their classroom to a bathroom? And why was there no cross ventilation with windows? Why celebrate a building that was a vanity project for an architect and not designed for children who deserved the very best? Let it go. It's tainted. It's not the best example of its era or genre anyway. Now could be a time for healing and proper and respectful handling of any remains that may still be underground. The building should go.