A courthouse, an artist, a couple of developers, a city and an architect will be honored by the Foundation for Historical Louisiana at its 36th annual Preservation Awards Banquet July 24 at the City Club.
This year’s honorees include the 1840 East Feliciana Parish Courthouse in Clinton, master wood carver Allen Crochet, developers Michael Doiron and Louis Martin, the city of Shreveport and partners Dyke Nelson and David Weinstein. Old Governor’s Mansion docent Cleona Parisi will be recognized as the FHL Volunteer of the Year.
- The East Feliciana Parish Courthouse is the oldest functional parish courthouse in Louisiana and among the oldest in the United States. The renovation of this Greek Revival structure, which along with five law offices on Lawyers Row was named a National Historic Landmark District in 1974, took more than seven years and cost $5 million.
It included extensive work on the exterior walls and columns as well as the removal of the first-floor slab to undo water intrusion. Historic colors, finishes, casework, windows, transoms and decorative details were meticulously conserved or restored, including the original courtroom furnishings.
The project was a joint effort of parish and state officials; volunteers, who formed Our Courthouse LLC; the Irene W. & C.B. Pennington Foundation; and professional firms.
- A retired school teacher, Crochet is a nationally recognized Louisiana artist who sculpts old cypress into bayou and steamboat scenes, wildlife, seafood and plantation homes using hand chisels. He then paints the carved area in acrylics. When he first began, his wife helped him disassemble old sharecroppers’ cabins to get the cypress.
Today, Crochet also sculpts his wood reliefs in select Ponderosa pine or select Tupelo gum. He also accepts commissions to do private residences.
- Doiron, fourth-generation owner of J.T. Doiron Inc. Realtor, is receiving a special award for Neighborhood Preservation never before given by the FHL in recognition of having moved and restored more than 40 homes in Capital Heights, which is bordered by Government and Claycut streets and South Acadian Thruway and Jefferson Highway. He also constructed 10 additional homes in the period architectural style “enhancing the neighborhood’s economic value and ambience.”
- An avid preservationist, Martin is being recognized for her leadership through the Felicity Street Redevelopment Project to revitalize the St. Charles Corridor of New Orleans’ Central City. Since its founding in 2000, Felicity Redevelopment has purchased some 25 properties for rehabilitation and resale, mostly to first-time home buyers. Without any public funding, Felicity has directly invested $4 million in the area located between Jackson Avenue and the Expressway, St. Charles and Rampart streets.
- The city of Shreveport is being recognized for its preservation planning and forward thinking in the writing and approval of a historical preservation ordinance. Under the leadership of Shreveport Mayor Cedric Glover and Shreveport community volunteer Jean Sayres, the city set up a study committee that ultimately led to the creation of a historic preservation ordinance to protect the city’s historic buildings and neighborhoods. Among the provisions is a wait time on demolitions of landmarks and the ability to use state residential tax credit for rehabilitation work.
- Architect/developer Dyke Nelson and business partner David Weinstein are receiving this year’s Bricks & Mortar Preservation Award for their renovation and return to commerce of The Tessier Buildings, the oldest commercial buildings in Baton Rouge. Also known as the Lafayette Buildings, the structures date back to the 1700s. The final project consists of four office suites and three residential apartments, many of which have sight lines to the river.