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National Trust for Historic Preservation Announces Historic New Orleans Sites to Receive Grants
St. Alphonsus Art & Cultural Center (Lower Garden District) Photo Credit: National Trust for Historic Preservation

NEW ORLEANS.- American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation today announced five historic New Orleans sites chosen to receive preservation grants for restoration projects. As part of the Partners in Preservation program launched in New Orleans last month, American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation focused specifically on historic sites responsible for bringing the local community together in neighborhoods impacted by Hurricane Katrina. People who live in the local New Orleans community and across the country participated in the initiative by sharing stories, photos and comments about these historic sites.

The grant monies designated for each of the five sites are based on the specific needs and projects at the chosen sites. Recipients of the Partners in Preservation grants are:

* St. James AME Church: granted $100,000 for repairs of the pressed tin
ceiling and plaster walls of the sanctuary, bringing the congregation
of this mid-city landmark from its fellowship hall back into its
beloved church.

* St. Alphonsus Art & Culture Center: granted $80,000 for the
restoration of the 1891 front portico of the church building, which
includes replacing the roof and repairing the stucco, millwork and
columns, enabling this Renaissance Revival gem in the Lower Garden
District to continue its service to the community.

* St. Augustine Parish Hall: granted $75,000 for repairs to the sealtab
shingle roof and repairs to rotten and termite damaged wood to the
second level balcony floor and ceiling, allowing this Treme parish to
once again host gatherings, provide services and raise funds for the
continued operation of its landmark church.

* Odyssey House: granted $75,000 for window and shutter replacement in
order to protect this important Esplanade Ridge-Treme building from
future storms and so that it continues to provide social services to
the community.

* Lafayette Cemetery No. 1: granted $70,000 for stabilization of the
perimeter wall and wall vaults and installation of a drainage system
to prevent future deterioration of the wall vaults, ensuring that this
popular Garden District tourist site and community anchor is preserved.

American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation used specific criteria to select these five grant recipients including their historic, architectural and cultural significance, demonstrated community support for the sites, role as community gathering spaces, damage from Hurricane Katrina, and the ability to complete a preservation project within one year.

An Advisory Committee comprised of local business leaders, preservation experts and philanthropists from many sectors across New Orleans helped guide American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation through the selection process and helped to review each site's story, background, and monetary needs along with the public's stories about the nine historic sites considered for the $400,000 in preservation grants.

"We are pleased to have launched Partners in Preservation in New Orleans as part of our ongoing support towards rebuilding the city after Hurricane Katrina. Through the program we have been able to raise visibility locally and nationally for these community anchors that have a rich and meaningful history of bringing people together," said Timothy J. McClimon, president, American Express Foundation. "With the grants we are providing for these five historic treasures, we are preserving their significance and relevance for future generations as New Orleans rebuilds for tomorrow."

"The stories that people have submitted to the Partners in Preservation website emphasize the important role many of these historic places have played in the everyday lives of New Orleans residents -- as gathering places and as focal points of community life," said Richard Moe, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. "Ever since Katrina, the National Trust has been working to restore and revitalize the historic neighborhoods of New Orleans. We believe that American Express' Partners in Preservation program is yet another step in the direction of revitalizing New Orleans and helping people return to the their homes and communities."

The Partners in Preservation website will be live through the summer for people to continue to share their stories, photos and comments about the historic sites and other great New Orleans historic sites.

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