With mixed reviews, a vote by the Mandeville City Council passed 5 – 0 to create a historic district inside a part of Old Mandeville. As more and more parts of the Greater New Orleans area are “redeveloped,” many residents and homeowners see this as a “win” that will preserve a portion of the northshore of the City of New Orleans which was established in 1830.
The new historic designation means that homeowners or developers looking to build new construction or to make additions or renovations to their homes will have to run their plans by a hired committee which will ensure that all construction going forward will meet the standards of maintaining historic preservation of the area.
The area designated as the new historic district will be bordered on the south and north respectively by Lake Pontchartrain and Hwy. 190. The
west border will be Galvez St., and the east border will be Jackson St. All of the area and the homes within this “square” will be the new historic district of Old Mandeville.
Opponents of converting on of Mandeville’s oldest districts were mostly concerned that by putting an “extra hurdle” in the way of new construction, improvements, or renovations, that homeowners and business owners alike would have a harder time getting their plans approved and their projects started. Another fear was that by the City Council voting to create a new historic district, it was an intrusion of the city government into the lives of the people.
Even though 13 public hearings have been held to discuss the possibility of creating this new historic district, Councillman Clay Madden expressed doubt that many citizens have no idea the ramifications of creating the historic district will mean them personally. Madden feels there needs to be more education of the public about the district. For instance, one qualification for a building or home to be considered historic is that it must be 50 years or older. A survey was done in 2008 by historian Sally Reeves revealing which buildings qualified for the historic district classification. The public will need to be educated as to the classification of their home before they are able to do any construction on the structure.
Overall, the majority of the people at the meeting in Mandeville were supporters of the historic district. Since New Orleans is one of the oldest established cities in the United States, it is important to preserve the history and the architecture from an era that is now history and soon to become a mystery to future generations.