Pat has been very active with the LTHP Board of Directors over the years including our Revolving Fund Committee. Learn more about Pat below. If you have interested in becoming a member or involved in a committee, contact us today!
Name: Patricia L. Duncan
Current Occupation: Retired; Former National Register Coordinator at Louisiana Division of Historic Preservation
Hometown: Fort Worth, Texas
Current Town: Baton Rouge, LA
When/how did you realize you were a preservationist? The love of buildings runs in my family’s DNA. Both grandfathers, one great-grandfather and two uncles were carpenters. My father was a general contractor. I realized that I loved old homes when I was a teenager. However, historic preservation was not recognized as a career while I was earning my B.A. I decided to pursue a career in H.P. in the 1980s, by which time there were training programs available.
What is your favorite building/place in Louisiana?
This is also a hard question for me. I love my early 20th century neighborhood, called the Garden District, in Baton Rouge and would not want to live anywhere else. The Queen Anne Revival style especially appeals to me, although I do not live in that style of house. There is a commercial building with a cast iron façade in Plaquemine that I think is wonderful. I also very much appreciate French Creole houses and everything about Natchitoches.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I collect dolls, make digital scrapbook pages, garden a (very) little bit, and read a great deal. I love interacting with my pets—a cat named Holly and a little dog named Sake, whom I recently rescued.
Why did you choose to get involved with the Louisiana Trust? Soon after I retired in 2013 Winnie Byrd asked me to join the Trust’s Board. I asked her to give me some time because I needed a break. A year later she asked me again. After confirming that serving would not be a conflict of interest (because I had been a state employee), I agreed. I guess I wanted to continue helping preservation in Louisiana in a small way without holding down a full time job. Besides, no one could ever say “No” to Winnie!
What have you learned from your experience on the LTHP? I have learned that serving on a board can be a great deal of work if one takes the job seriously, and I do. My primary interest in the Trust is its revolving fund, about which I have had to learn quite a bit. I have learned that I am capable of doing things that seem scary to me. I have also learned to speak up in meetings.
Why should others get involved with LTHP and the preservation movement in Louisiana? It is not enough to say that others should be involved in preservation or the Trust because I personally love old buildings. We have to make others understand the value these resources add to our communities and our lives. People should join the Trust and serve on committees, or the Board, to help get this message to the public.
The presence of historic buildings ensures that our towns don’t all look like identical strip malls. They give us a sense of place. Can anyone imagine Louisiana without its plantation houses or New Orleans without the French Quarter?
Historic buildings help the economy. They generate tourism dollars. Restoring and maintaining them creates jobs in the construction industry—just ask any of the developers using the tax credits about that!
At a time when we are worried about the environment and dwindling resources, it is wasteful to destroy historic buildings. They contain materials that should not be squandered (how many trees does it take to build a wooden house) and display craftsmanship that cannot be replicated. In a sense they contain energy—all the energy it took to harvest or manufacture the building materials and the energy of the crews who made the materials and assembled them into buildings. Our environment and our society can no longer afford this waste.