DHS Seal - FEMA    
FEMA Section 106 Notices for Louisiana
Comment on "Public Notice NHPA/NEPA1 Seeking Public Comment for FEMA-funded Demolition of House of Detention, 2735 Perdido Street, New Orleans"
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Name: Lawrence N. N Powell
City: Metairie
House of Detention, 2735 Perdido Street, New Orleans
Comments: It's impossible to exaggerate the historical importance of completing a thorough Digital Recordation and Narrative History of the ten-story House of Detention (HOD) at 2735 Perdido Street in New Orleans, LA, per the requirements spelled out in the 2016 Statewide PA. A minimalist approach won't suffice. The fraught history of this prison facility--the wrongful deaths and mental and physical abuses, never mind the substandard conditions--can't be adequately documented without compiling, prior to demolition, a comprehensive digital record: the building's interior and exterior, cells and showers, common spaces and lighting fixtures, even its jail bars.

FEMA has ruled that the HOD fails to qualify for historical preservation.
Even so, there's a compelling case for convening a Section 106 meeting of cultural and community activists, artists and historians, mental health professionals and criminal justice reformers. This carceral structure brims with cautionary lessons. Hearing from stakeholders and experts would be more than helpful. It is imperative. The timing is ripe. To a widening public, a reappraisal of how America approaches mass imprisonment is long overdue.

Lawrence N. Powell
Professor of History, Emeritus
Tulane University