Announcing the 2022 Louisiana Preservation Awards

Baton Rouge, LA – Louisiana is filled with great places, great traditions, and great people keeping those cultural assets alive.      

The Louisiana Trust for Historic Preservation recognizes 12 new award recipients for their impact on historic places, build pride and foster engagement in their communities. Awardees have been nominated by the public and selected based on  

  • Significance and magnitude of the nominee’s contributions and/or achievements. 
  • Consistent or innovative involvement with and commitment to culture. 
  • Benefit of the nominee’s contributions to Louisiana’s cultural understanding. 

A formal awards ceremony  took place on Saturday, October 22, in conjunction with the 2022 Fall Ramble in Columbia and Caldwell Parish. 

2022 Awards Recipients: 

Main Street Award – Natchitoches Main Street

  • Recognizes a Main Street community that exemplifies the strategic use of creativity, historic preservation and/or culture to build a climate for cultural expression, improve quality of life, enhance existing assets and strengthen economic opportunity while respecting the quality of the area. 
 

Natchitoches Main Street has served their community for many years. They work tirelessly to promote shopping local, improve the aesthetics and accessibility of their Main Street District and have created new events even during the Covid-19 pandemic to grow activity in the historic district. This has included bringing in food trucks weekly during the summer months to encourage shopping in local boutiques as well as activities along the lakefront.

Education Award – Cane River National Heritage Area, Natchitoches     

  • Recognizes an individual or organization that, through educational efforts, helped broaden appreciation for the importance of value of historic preservation in Louisiana. 
 

The Cane River National Heritage Area continues building partnerships to help preserve and enhance the Cane River region. These partnerships also help interpret and educate the public about the local history. In 2021, the CRNA created educational opportunities highlighting the African American experience and researching ancestry; traditional Native American tribe crafting, dances, and foods; as well as tours for all ages to learn about the region’s historic landmarks.

Leadership Award – Mayor Friday Ellis, City of Monroe

  • Recognizes an individual that is making or has made a significant contribution to the advocacy and/or promotion of historic preservation, or the development of his or her cultural discipline in a community, region, or state. 
 

Mayor Friday Ellis has brought new energy to the City of Monroe by building plans and activities around the city’s historic and cultural resources. Ellis and his team recently engaged community partners through a master planning process to spur revitalization. The City of Monroe is also leading by example, by purchasing several vacant downtown properties for rehabilitation as a cultural destination which will allow the public to have a better connection with the Ouachita River.

Organizational Excellence Award – Bernice Cultural District, Bernice (Union Parish) 

  • Recognizes an organization that successfully leveraged assets to provide greater cultural value to its region within the state such as a heritage tourism project, or restoration /preservation effort such as adaptive reuse. 
 

The Bernice Cultural District, spearheaded by Cathy Buckley, has taken bold steps to revitalize their Union Parish hometown. Community volunteers are working together to reengage alumni and community pride through public art and resurrecting the much beloved Corney Creek Festival. The Cultural District Board of Directors have actively promoted their work and impact through social media and beyond to show their determination and growth.

Stewardship Award – New Orleans Catholic Cemeteries/St Roch, New Orleans and Academy of Sacred Heart of Grand Coteau, Grand Coteau

  • Recognizing exemplary historic preservation, restoration, rehabilitation, and reconstruction projects that adhere to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards. Awards may be presented to a residential or non-residential property, whether privately or publicly owned. Nominations must be for projects completed within the last three years. 
 

New Orleans Catholic Cemeteries recently completed a full interior restoration of the St. Roch Chapel within St. Roch Cemetery No. 1 in New Orleans that included a restored decorative ceiling and plasterwork. All works conforms to the National Parks Service standards using best practices and commitment to the site’s future.

With over 200 years of history, Sacred Heart of Grand Coteau identified structural issues and proceed with construction. Their project utilized historic tax credit incentives to rehabilitate the gallery and meet modern fire and safety codes for classroom settings.

Diverse Heritage Award – Kimberly Walden of the Chitimatcha Museum, Charenton and Loretta Harrison, New Orleans (posthumously)

  • Recognizing achievements in the promotion and preservation of Louisiana’s multicultural or underserved heritage. Projects eligible for this award include rehabilitation or restoration projects, interpretive programs, heritage leadership or other activities that re-examine, emphasize or further our understanding of the diverse heritage of Louisiana. 
 

Kimberly Walden is the Cultural Director and Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the Chitimacha Tribe of Louisiana. Kimberly has preserved and promoted the culture of the Chitimacha people for many years. This includes offering a greater understanding of the Chitimacha culture through special events and working with Rosetta Stone to document and revive the Chitimacha language. She manages the Chitimacha Museum and reviews the potential impact of federally funded projects in the ancestral lands of the Chitimacha in a 23-parish region.

Loretta Harrison was the first Black woman in the French Quarter to own a candy store (Loretta’s Authentic Pralines). She learned to make her famous pralines from her mother from a recipe passed down through the generations. She was the modern-day Praline Lady, continuing in a profession held by Black women since the 19th century. A profession that allowed some enslaved women to purchase their freedom. A profession that required little investment due to the abundance of pecan trees throughout
Louisiana.

Living Trades Award – Teddy Pierre – Master Mason, New Orleans

Recognizing individuals that have continued to use a traditional technique or method in construction to achieve authenticity in the preservation, restoration or reconstruction of historic resources on a project within Louisiana. The technique must be one that is considered both artistic in nature and rare in today’s construction practices. 

Teddy Pierre is a master mason and specialist in historic brick and mortar, who has worked on countless historic buildings across Louisiana. Teddy learned the craft from his father at an early age and later earned his Masters in Architecture from Tulane University. Teddy’s life mission has been to foster education of traditional building trades and pass these skills along to future generations.

Louisiana Heritage Media Award – National Center for Preservation Technology and Training

  • Recognizing outstanding works published or produced within the last two years (journalism, films, books, websites or other media) on Louisiana historic preservation themes, topics, issues, projects or local history and architecture. 
 

The National Center for Preservation Technology and Training was established in 1994, on the grounds of Northwestern State University in Natchitoches. NCPTT helps preservationists find better tools, materials and approaches to conserving buildings, landscapes, sites and collections, and is a program of the National Park Service. Their vast and growing collection of media ranges from laser documentation of houses of the formerly enslaved and tenant farmers to condition assessment tools for disaster response and recovery. More information may be found at https://ncptt.nps.gov/.

Sue Turner Preservationist of the Year Award – Amanda Lanata, Zachary

  • Recognizes the efforts of an individual that made a significant contribution to historic preservation in Louisiana. 
 

Amanda Lanata first contacted the Louisiana Trust in the spring of 2021to inquire about volunteer opportunities. After working for the Mississippi Department of Archives and History for nine years, she returned home to Louisiana, to work in her family’s contracting business. Amanda conducted extensive interviews with property owners and community members to update our understanding of the more than 150 sites on the Louisiana’s Most Endangered Places List. Because of her work, we have a better understanding of which sites have been saved as well as those which still need assistance.

Winnie Byrd Preservationist Extraordinaire Award – Mary Keele, West Monroe

  • Recognizes an individual or individuals who have made a lasting impact to the historic resources of Louisiana through a body of work. 
 

Mary Keele is a founding member of the West Monroe Historic Preservation Commission (1993) and community activist among many preservation and revitalization efforts in this Ouachita Parish community. She has lived in a circa 1926 historic home in the downtown since 1979 where she first opened her shop, before relocating to Trenton Street in 1985. Here, Mary and other business owners came together to create the Antique Alley Merchants Association. She can still be seen running her shop which has been in existence longer than any other business downtown. Mary has also been active in civic affairs as a Lion’s Club member for many years.

Rotten Apple Award – Franklin Parish School Board (demolition of Baskin High School) 

  • Recognizes an organization, person or company whose actions disregard the benefits and importance of historic preservation and threaten the cultural legacy of Louisiana
 

Baskin High School was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1981 on the basis of its architecture and role in the social history of the region. The last class to graduate from Baskin High School was in 1997. Consolidation of the Franklin Parish school system was approved by the U.S. Justice Department in 2004. Since this decision, the Franklin Parish School Board engaged in demolition by neglect of their numerous buildings across the parish. Despite advocacy efforts from local community members and organizations to see this and other buildings rehabilitated for new uses for the community, the Franklin Parish School Board ultimately lacked vision and Baskin High School was demolished in July 2021.

Natchitoches Main Street
Natchitoches Main Street
Cane River National Heritage Area
Monroe Mayor Friday Ellis
Bernice Cultural District
St. Roch Chapel (before)
St. Roch Chapel (after)
Academy of Sacred Heart of Grand Coteau
Loretta Harrison
Kimberly Walden
National Center for Preservation Technology and Training
Franklin Parish School Board for Demolition of Baskin High School