West Bank Spotlight: Renovations enhance historic site

As I walk up the steps of the Cita Dennis Hubbell Library and open the huge massive green front doors, I can’t help but wonder, “if these walls could talk.” But after you walk in, you will notice an area with old and young people on the computer; a section where people are studying on their laptops and iPads; and a children’s section in the rear of the library.

This is where I met Christine Manalla with her 8-year-old daughter, Juliana, a second-grader at Ursuline Academy. Manalla and her husband, Donald, Juliana and 3-year-old son have lived in Algiers for the past eight years. Manalla said, “I come to the library because I want my children to realize the importance of reading.”

Also behind those doors, you will see the enormous history of this 106-year-old building at 725 Pelican Ave. in Algiers Point Historic District. It is one of the oldest public library facilities in New Orleans.

The Cita Hubbell Library, was originally built in 1907, but recently underwent a $1.3 million restoration from city bond funds and FEMA public assistance. Renovations include a new roof, lighting, fixtures, storefront entry vestibule, HVAC system, flooring, windows, fire alarm system and electrical code upgrades. It was designed by Concordia Architects and constructed by Crescent Commercial Construction.

The Algiers Branch was one of five New Orleans libraries established with money from Andrew Carnegie. For almost 60 years, it served as the only public library on New Orleans’ west bank but was closed in 1966 due to deterioration and to make way for the new Algiers Regional Branch approximately four miles away.

Cita Dennis Hubbell, a neighborhood resident, lobbied the city of New Orleans to repair and reopen the branch in 1975 as the Algiers Point Branch. After Hubbell’s death, the city rededicated the library as the Cita Dennis Hubbell Branch in 2002.

In 2005, the library survived Hurricane Katrina mostly intact but was closed to the public in 2008 due to moisture and termite damage to the roof. Now, this community treasure is back open through the efforts of the city of New Orleans, FEMA and The Friends of Hubbell Library.

The library hours are from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday; and it is closed Sunday and Friday. Storytime is Mondays and Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. One hour computer lessons are by appointment only. Author Night is the second Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. Family friendly movies are shown at 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturdays.

Get Out Your Dancing Shoes

Jefferson Parish senior citizens are invited to attend a dance gala from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday at the Alario Center, 2000 Segnette Blvd., Westwego.

Providing the music from the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s will be Rockin Ron.

Admission is free. Food and refreshments will be available. The event is sponsored by Peoples Health.

Louisiana SPCA is 125

The LA/SPCA celebrates its 125-year anniversary through Aug. 29 with special adoption rates for kittens and dogs over 40 pounds. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, the adoption fee is only $25.

The pets are available for adoption at 1700 Mardi Gras Blvd. in Algiers.

City of Gretna, Centennial Celebration

As the city of Gretna celebrates its 100th year, the public is invited and encouraged to participate in the events beginning with Oktoberfest and running through the end of the year. The activities include: Sept. 28, Oktoberfest, hosted by Friends of the German American Cultural Center; Sept. 29, Historic Tour of the City; Oct. 4-6, Gretna Heritage Festival; Oct. 15, Night Out Against Crime; Oct. 19, Hook & Ladder Historic Cemetery Tour; Oct. 26, Pumpkin Decorating at Gretna Farmer’s Market; and Oct. 31, Gretna Goblin Night at the Marketplace.

Yetoria DeShazier covers the West Bank and can be contacted at ydeshazier@gmail.com or (504) 367.0905.