DHS Seal - FEMA    
FEMA Section 106 Notices for Louisiana
Comment on "Public Notice Regarding Historic Review of the St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Church, 5500 Paris Avenue, New Orleans, Louisiana with linked PDF attachments "
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Name: Name redacted at the request of the author
City: New Orleans
5500 Paris Avenue, New Orleans
Comments: Interesting that those referring to themselves as "Friends of SFC", no matter where on the globe they may hail from, are all calling for "compromise". "Just compromise," they say. "That's all we're asking for." What exactly are the two opposing positions being debated here?

Members of the Holy Cross community are asking to be allowed to develop the entirety of the 18 acre site they have entered into agreement to purchase as they desire, in accordance with their plans. These plans were presented beforehand to the Archdiocese, to the Archdiocese-organized gathering of SFC parishioners, and to the various neighborhood associations in the area of the site. The very specific plans were embraced by all of these. These plans include the razing of the building that formerly housed the SFC parish church.

Those who speak as "Friends of SFC" and others who share their opinion ask that Holy Cross or some other yet-unidentified entity or foundation undertake to expend whatever funds (possibly including the insurance funds now being reserved by the Archdiocese to use toward any possible future SFC church) it would take to completely rehabilitate the building, addressing not only the damage done by Katrina and the ensuing flood, but also all of the pre-existing problems the building had displayed for years prior to Katrina. In addition, Holy Cross or the other "mystery entity" is to accept responsibility for maintenance costs for a building that, due either to it's design or to mistakes made during it's construction, have been historically immense. The building would ostensibly be used by Holy Cross as a "performance center" of some type--one that Holy Cross (or rather the families sending their boys to the school) would get to help pay for without having a say over whether they actually want it or not.

So there's the two opposing positions. What the "compromise" the SFC building supporters and the architectural elite are clamoring for, you ask? Well......it sure isn't "somewhere in between the two positions", as you would expect a compromise to be, and as FEMA's historic review and mitigation process allows for. Seems their "compromise" is pretty much identical to their full demand--someone pay to completely restore the building.

A "compromise" somewhere between preserving the entire building as it is, or rather, as the supporters WISH it had been before the storm, and erasing it and it's memory altogether would fall somewhere along a "scale" of alternatives. At one end might be the inclusion on the new campus of a smaller chapel building that incorporates some of the features and memorabilia from the SFC building. At the other end might be the placement of a photograph or painting of the SFC building somewhere in a hallway or foyer of a new campus building, identifying it as the building that stood on the site beforehand. Somewhere in between might fall placing an outdoor monument describing the building, it's short history, and why some people felt it had architectural significance at the actual spot where it once stood.

Whatever the final decision is, it would seem that the SFC side in this discussion would better bolster their argument by either admitting up front that they want nothing less than complete adoption of their demands and not euphemistically refer to their goal as a "compromise" or actually by identifying a real compromise that post sides may agree to work toward.