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FEMA Section 106 Notices for Louisiana
Comment on "Public Notice Regarding Section 106 Review of Interior Rehabilitation; New Addition Construction; and Demolition of Outbuildings and Custodial Lodge
Audubon-Montessori School, 428 Broadway Street, New Orleans, LA
Applicant: Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB)
Seeking Public Comment
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Name: John Lafargue
City: New Orleans, LA
Audobn-Montessor School, 428 Broadway Street, New Orleans, LA
Comments: CARETAKERS COTTAGE WILL BE DEMOLISHED BEFORE FEMA COMMENT PERIOD ENDS! Representatives from F.H. Paschen, S.N. Nielsen, the general contractor selected by the Orleans Parish School Board for the Audubon Charter project, have indicated that the caretaker's cottage will be torn down in the next week (May 31). If the cottage is demolished prior to the end of the public comment period of June 5th, what is the benefit of commenting?

The Alford House, also known as the caretaker's cottage, is one of the few remaining school caretaker's cottages in Orleans Parish. It is a contributing element to the Audubon Charter campus and demolition will have an irreversible and detrimental impact to the overall original design of the school. Against the recommendation of the State Historic Preservation Office, OPSB and their consultants have determined that the cottage stands in the way of the expansion of the school. Could we also suggest that the long-term lease that was extended by OPSB to the AT&T facility on the Pine Street is also a hindrance? Why sacrifice a historically contributing element such as the cottage over a telephone substation? Is it because OPSB was too short sighted and revenue driven in deciding to enter to an agreement with ATT? Serious consideration should be given to the retention of the caretaker's cottage.

Also, because of the ATT facility, the expansion of the school is skewed to the Hurst/Pine Street side of the block, with a setback of only 10 ft. from the property line. It is not compatible with the historic character of the surrounding neighborhood or the school in size, scale, design, material, color or texture. The addition detracts from the symmetry of the existing school and the limited setback and the modern design are inconsistent with the residences across Pine Street. Though $12 million will be spent of the renovation and expansion of the school, limited consideration has been given to student access and egress, deliveries and parking, all points made in each of the 5 community meetings held by OPSB.

Firstly, the demolition of the caretaker's cottage should be deferred until FEMA can process and consider the comments requested in this forum. Secondly, the caretaker's cottage should be incorporated into the design of the renovation. Thirdly, the design should be refined to more appropriately reflect the historic school and neighborhood. Consideration should be give particularly to the scale and massing of the addition and a greater setback should be provided.