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2023 Louisiana Preservation Awards announced

by Minden Press-Herald

BATON ROUGE, L.A. — The Louisiana Trust for Historic Preservation (LTHP) is pleased to announce the  recipients of the 2023 Louisiana Preservation Awards. LTHP’s annual preservation awards program honors  individuals, organizations and businesses for their impactful and passionate efforts to save historic places,  build civic pride and foster engagement in their communities. Nominations are accepted from the public  each spring, and nominees are evaluated based on the significance of their achievements and commitment to  preservation involvement as well as their contributions to Louisiana’s cultural understanding. 

This year’s winners will be formally recognized at a ceremony during LTHP’s upcoming Fall Ramble event in  Natchitoches on Saturday, October 7. During the tour, participants will have the opportunity to explore more  than a dozen culturally significant sites and properties — some rarely open to the public — in the Cane River  National Heritage Area and Natchitoches. To register for the upcoming event, please visit LTHP.org/events. Tickets  are $50/person ($45 for LTHP members), and each registration includes a boxed lunch. The awards recognition  will begin at 12:15 P.M. at Oakland Plantation in Natchez, LA. Registration closes on Sunday, October 1. 

To learn more about the Louisiana Trust, become a member or make a nomination for the 2024 Louisiana  Preservation Awards, please visit LTHP.org. 

2023 Award Recipients 

Main Street Award: Franklin Main Street | Franklin, LA 

Recognizes a Main Street community that exemplifies the strategic use of creativity, historic preservation and culture  to build a climate for cultural expression, improve quality of life, enhance existing assets, and strengthen economic  opportunity while respecting the quality of the area. 

Mayor Eugene Foulcard, Franklin Main Street Director, Ed “Tiger” Verdin, and other city leadership have worked  hard to enhance their Main Street District for residents and visitors alike — from transforming a vacant lot into a  pocket park for festivals to beautifying the streetscape and hosting events to bring folks to the shopping district. As  a result of their efforts, there is almost no vacancy in their commercial downtown. 

Education Award: Pam Dupuy | Monroe, LA 

Recognizes an individual or organization that, through educational efforts, helped broaden appreciation for the  importance of the value of historic preservation in Louisiana. 

Pam Dupuy, fifth-generation steward of Layton Castle along the Ouachita River in Monroe, re-opened the property  for tours in December 2022 after several years of being closed to the public. Pam is responsible for utilizing the  family property as a venue for weddings and parties, and she leads the charge in keeping the landmark’s legacy alive  with regular tours that educate the community on the history of Monroe. Ongoing projects include digitizing and  transcribing a family archive of papers and rehabilitation to the residence. 

Leadership Award: Denise Richard Lanclos | Lafayette, LA 

Recognizes an individual who is making or has made a significant contribution to the advocacy and promotion of historic  preservation, or the development of his or her cultural discipline in a community, region, or state. 

As Director of Finance for the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in Lafayette, Denise attended two historic tax credit  workshops and gained knowledge to apply for the credit for the exterior preservation of the Cathedral in Lafayette.  The exterior preservation project was completed, and the credit was sold to bring approximately $70,000 to the  Cathedral. Denise currently serves in a volunteer role as President of the Preservation Alliance of Lafayette. 

Organizational Excellence Award: Recovery School District & New Orleans Public Schools | New Orleans, LA Recognizes an organization that successfully leveraged assets to provide greater cultural value to its region within the state  such as a heritage tourism project, or restoration/preservation effort such as adaptive reuse. 

In response to the devastation from the hurricanes of 2005 and to address the long-term deferred maintenance of  facilities, the Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB) and the Recovery School District (RSD) created the School Facilities  Master Plan (SFMP). Its goal was to provide 21st-century seats for all children in the district who were in temporary  facilities and modular campuses as a result of the destruction from Katrina and Rita. Their efforts resulted in the  rehabilitation of 24 historic schools through a public-private partnership. The SFMP was started in 2008, with a revision  in 2011. The last historic renovation, Martin Behrman (renamed Rose Mary Loving) School was completed in 2022.  

Stewardship Award: NANO Architecture & Interiors (Frederick A. Douglass High School) | New Orleans, LA Recognizes exemplary historic preservation, restoration, rehabilitation, and reconstruction projects — residential or non residential — that adhere to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards and have been completed within the last three years.  

Damaged by Hurricane Katrina, Frederick A. Douglass High School sat unused, vacant and in disarray for nearly 17  years. To help the school system return this invaluable resource to the community, NANO Architecture & Interiors  devised a strategy to make the auditorium more accessible, more accommodating, and more historically accurate than  it has been for decades. Today, the long-awaited restoration project is complete and exquisitely highlights the historic  features throughout the interior. Further, the renovation of this auditorium now provides a space for children and adults  to practice and present the performing arts.  

Diverse Heritage Award: Becky Thomas-Meziere | Clifton, LA 

Recognizes achievements in the promotion and preservation of Louisiana’s multicultural or underserved heritage. Projects  eligible for this award include rehabilitation or restoration projects, interpretive programs, heritage leadership or other  activities that re-examine, emphasize or further our understanding of the diverse heritage of Louisiana.  

Born in 1975 in Pineville, Louisiana, Becky Thomas-Meziere is a pine straw basket maker, and her beautiful hand woven baskets can be seen all over the world in both private collections and museums. She is a graduate of Northwestern  State University, and she and her family are members of the Clifton Choctaw Native American Community in Clifton,  Louisiana. Becky learned her craft from her mother when she was about eleven years old. With her tools consisting  of needle, raffia, and longleaf pine straw, she uses a coil technique where the pine needles are coiled around and sewn  together. Each basket is unique and has little designs resembling flowers sewn onto the finished basket. She uses natural  dyes and some supplementary materials, such as commercially dyed raffia, to give color to the pine needle baskets. 

Living Trades Award: Arcadio Bautista | Irving, TX 

Recognizes an individual who has continued to use a traditional technique or method in construction to achieve authenticity  in the preservation, restoration or reconstruction of historic resources on a project within Louisiana; the technique must be  one that is considered both artistic in nature and rare in today’s construction practices..  

Arcadio Bautista was a subcontractor for the Texas Co. Precision Construction & Roofing, contracted to repair the  historic 1910 Ludowici roof of Layton Castle in Monroe, Louisiana. Arcadio was the site supervisor for the team that  removed the old tiles, repaired and replaced sheeting, and installed the new roof and flashing. Mr. Bautista’s process and  care were impressive in solving unusual situations such as the installation of the handmade glass tiles in the five skylights  or the custom tiles created for the conical roof of the south turret. Layton Castle now enjoys a majestic and functional  new roof that maintains its historic character.

Heritage Media Award: Amber Mitchell & Dr. Joy Banner (“Tilling the Soil”) | Edgard, LA Recognizes outstanding works published or produced within the last two years (journalism, films, books, websites or other  media) on Louisiana historic preservation themes, topics, issues, projects or local history and architecture. 

“Tilling the Soil” is a podcast launched by Amber Mitchell and Dr. Joy Banner in August 2022 to discuss Whitney  Plantation and the unique intersection of history, preservation, race and storytelling. Each episode featured interviews  with museum professionals, historians, preservationists, living history interpreters, and a host of other professionals  in the history field about a variety of topics centered around the struggles and importance of interpreting the history  of the enslaved. 

Sue Turner Preservationist of the Year Award: Representative Tanner Magee | Houma, LA Recognizes the efforts of an individual who has made a significant contribution to historic preservation in Louisiana. 

Rep. Tanner Magee introduced and secured the passage of HB 483, which extends and expands Louisiana’s Commercial  Rehabilitation Tax Credit (also known as the State Historic Tax Credit). The bill passed both chambers of the state  legislature. In addition to extending the credit through 2028, HB 483 expands the eligibility of the credits to properties  on the National Register of Historic Places and increases the incentive, especially for rural projects.  

Winnie Byrd Preservationist Extraordinaire Award: Professor F. Lestar Martin | Ruston, LA Recognizes an individual who has made a lasting impact on the historic resources of Louisiana through a body of work. 

Professor emeritus F. Lestar Martin is a respected former member of the Louisiana Tech University faculty.  During his tenure as a professor in the School of Architecture, which began in the 1970s, he developed a popular  documentation course on historic Louisiana buildings, exploring the process of architectural documentation. The  work with his students resulted in several publications about the vernacular architecture of northern Louisiana as  well as measured drawings of numerous historic Louisiana landmarks, now housed in the Library of Congress. 

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