Texas experienced the most substantial sections of Hurricane Harvey. However, the devastating storm forced its way inland and brought flooding to parts of southwest Louisiana. Though Harvey weakened to a tropical storm by the time it reached Louisiana, officials are taking steps toward protecting the state’s historical buildings.
In February, the Louisiana Office of Cultural Development’s Division of Historic Preservation announced that it would receive just over $1 million is federal grants from the National Park Service fund. These funds will aid the preserving of some of Louisiana’s historic sites already placed at risk after hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.
What the Grant Will Fund
The $1,013,757 in grants will support the recovery and preservation of properties listed on the National Register. Additionally, properties eligible for inclusion on the National Register can receive a portion of these funds. Officials were inspired to create this grant while assessing damage from Hurricane Harvey.
In a statement to the press, Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser said, “Following Harvey, during cursory assessments of the impacted communities and resources in Louisiana, we found the cultural resources mapping and surveys to be outdated, slowing down the recovery process.” Nungesser continued by saying Louisiana officials “worked to secure this federal funding to help conduct further assessments of our damaged communities to update the mapping and surveys, help identify vulnerable properties and assist in future disaster-response efforts."
Surveys will use the Louisiana Division of Historic Preservation Survey Guidelines: they will record the age of a building, its style of architecture, damage, and why the building is historically significant. Data will be used to update the Historic Resource Inventory, and local officials will use the map to identify properties which need attention for past and future natural disasters. Officials will examine buildings throughout nine parishes for this grant. These parishes are Allen, Beauregard, Cameron, Natchitoches, Red River, Sabine, St. Charles, and Vernon.