Next up in our “Meet the Board” blog series is Ben Luke. Ben has served on the LTHP board since 2017 and is based out the Marksville area.
Name: Ben Luke
Current Occupation: Attorney, Owner of Ben Luke Law and Ben Luke Abstract & Title Co. – offices in Marksville, Alexandria, Lake Charles, and Natchitoches
Hometown & Current Town: Marksville
When/How did you realize you were a preservationist? My mom, Katherine Melancon, was the greatest influence as she has been passionate about historic preservation all of my life. When I was a teen she restored our family home where she still resides. Since then I have restored approximately 10 historic buildings, 2 of which are on the National Register of Historic Places, one being my home in Marksville (Joffrion House) and my Alexandria law office.
What’s your favorite building/place in Louisiana? Hotel Bentley in Alexandria, LA. The architecture and details are breathtaking and impressive. Built in 1908, it was called the Waldorf on the Red (River). (Also a former Louisiana Most Endangered Site)
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time? Running marathons, Traveling, Working at my farm near Colfax, Louisiana, crawfishing, fishing, duckhunting, skeet shooting, hiking trails, and working on projects on the property.
Why did you choose to get involved with the Louisiana Trust? As a real estate attorney I was hired to help LTHP acquire a property in Alexandria, Louisiana. Through the process I learned what amazing work the organization does. The revolving fund of acquiring properties to purchase and repair in order to sell to place back into productive use was a great concept which fascinated me. After seeing how many properties have been saved due to this plan, it gave me great satisfaction of knowing that these unique properties have been saved and are currently in use.
What have you learned from your experience on the LTHP? What makes our organization unique first and foremost is the people that are involved. None of these great accomplishments could’ve happened without such amazing hard-working dedicated board members and staff. As long as we continue to have board members that are passionate and dedicated this organization will continue to be the superior historic preservation organization in our state. Plus, this organization to me is the only one that is truly state wide and not limited regionally.
Why should others get involved with LTHP and the preservation movement in Louisiana? Others that are currently not involved yet, passionate, and understand the importance of preserving historical buildings should know that the Louisiana Trust for Historic Preservation is a direct link to preserving our culture and architecture and history of Louisiana.