May 16, 2023 - Real Estate

2 Louisiana landmarks on Most Endangered Historic Places list

Photo shows the Holy Aid and Comfort Spiritual Church in disrepair. The blue facade facing the street is still upright, but the rest has collapsed.

Holy Aid and Comfort Spiritual Church was constructed around 1880 and hosted early performances by jazz pioneers. Damage from recent hurricanes and vandalism has left it in a rough state. Photo: Courtesy of the National Trust

Two Louisiana landmarks earned spots on the National Trust's annual list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.

Why it matters: Being "endangered" may not sound ideal, but placement on the list offers a burst of attention that advocates can use to protect important cultural landmarks.

Zoom in: This year's landmarks include the Holy Aid and Comfort Spiritual Church, which is also known as the Perseverance Benevolent and Mutual Aid Society Hall, and the 11-mile corridor of St. John the Baptist Parish's West Bank.

Holy Aid is recognized as "one of the first places where jazz was heard," including performances by Sidney Bechet, Isidore Barbarin, Joe "King" Oliver and Buddy Bolden, the Trust says.

  • Holy Aid bought the building in 1949 as a home for its spiritual worship, but it was damaged during Hurricanes Katrina and Ida.
Photo is an aerial view of the west bank of St. John the Baptist Parish. The main house of Evergreen Plantation is in the middle with other buildings scattered around. Trees and rows of crops are in the background.
The West Bank of St. John the Baptist Parish includes numerous historic sites, including two nationally significant plantations where the lives of enslaved people are studied and interpreted: Evergreen Plantation (shown here) and nearby Whitney Plantation. Photo: Brian M. Davis/Louisiana Trust for Historic Preservation

St. John's West Bank is "an intact cultural landscape in an area otherwise oversaturated with heavy industry," the Trust says.

  • The area includes villages and historic sites such as Evergreen Plantation and Whitney Plantation.
  • Additional industrial development, the Trust says, like the planned Greenfield Louisiana LLC grain elevator, stands to "disturb archaeological remains, and dramatically harm the St. John Parish community with negative visual and environmental impacts."

Go deeper by reading the National Trust’s full list


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