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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: Mark Folse
City: New Orleans, LA
St. Francix X. Cabrini Church
Comments: The Cabrini Church Building is a unique and important architectural artifact of 20th century New Orleans. Its unique use of material and design makes it an important architectural landmark, and the difficulty of recreating such a structure today makes it even more valuable. It is a signature piece that utilizes many of the same design and material principles as the Rivergate Convention Center (itself a noted architectural achievement, the demolition of which was a mistake).

Its contents include a single-piece marble altar imported from Italy and stained glass produced in Chartres, France which add appreciably to its overall value. It is the product of a major local design firm and a signature piece of the work of Curtis & Davis. When other significant local buidlings by this firm (such as the Superdome and the Public Library) have outlined their usefulness and face their own demolitions, it would be one of the few remaining local landmarks by this premiere 20th century architectural firm, and one which would not outline its usefulness for a long time to come.

Proponents of its demolition frequently note that Holy Cross School has no use for the facility, but fail to mention that Cabrini was one of only two churches in the archdiocese large enough to host significant parochial school functions such as Ring and Graduation Masses.

Propoments of demolition frequently site maintenance and heating/cooling costs. My understanding is tha the roof of the church-outside of necessary resealing-- has not been a major concern like the rectory and school buildings. Any large ecclesiastical space is going to have significant demands/expenses associated with heating and cooling, so the latter seems a silly argument.

In the end the building is a unique and important architectural landmark which could continue to serve all of the community, including Holy Cross School, for many years to come. As one of the truly outstanding buildings in the entire post-WWII Lakefront development zone, it should be preserved in a fashion compatible with the development of Holy Cross School at the same site.