Lousiana Landmarks Society History
The Landmarks Society, founded in 1950 and incorporated in 1953, is vigorously working to insure the safety of our landmarks and to preserve our old neighborhoods and districts as desirable, attractive areas to live and work.
The Society publishes the quarterly newsletter “Preservation”, regularly sponsors tours of plantations and city neighborhoods and promotes talks of architectural and historic interest on local, state, national and international levels.
A valuable collection of pictures and information on landmarks is kept in The Louisiana Landmarks Society’s Collection in the Southeastern Architectural Archive of the Tulane University Library.
The home of James Pitot (the First Mayor of the Incorporated City of New Orleans) on Bayou St. John, restored and furnished in early Louisiana style, is the headquarters of the Society. It is open to the public four days a week and by appointment for certain occasions.
We ask you to become a member of the Louisiana Landmarks Society and join in our work. Remember – Preservation is Progress.
1948-1949 - Failure to save the Olivier and the Delord-Sarpy French Colonial Style houses and the Greek Revival Style Gould House from Louisiana's colonial period provided a catalyst to a group of preservation minded citizens to organize for the cause of preserving buildings.
1950 - The Society was founded. One of the founders, Martha Gilmore Robinson, was a leader in saving Gallier Hall, New Orleans' City Hall on Lafayette Square. The Centennial of the building was celebrated with an exhibition of Gallier's work in the City Hall, his masterpiece.
Carrolton Courthouse of 1854 1952 - The Society worked with Carrollton Citizens Committee to save the former Carrollton Courthouse of 1854, designed by the noted architect, Henry Howard. It became Benjamin Franklin School.
1954 - The Society was concerned about Girod Street Cemetery and preserved some of its tomb markers.
1955 - The Society formed a subcommittee of 50 patriotic and civic groups dedicated to saving the heart of Chalmette Battlefield.
1956 - The first issue of PRESERVATION newsletter for the Society was published by sculptress Angela Gregory and Louis Goldstein.
1957 - The Society helped to establish the Orleans Parish Landmarks Commission and with the American Institute of Architects, New Orleans Chapter held a photographic exhibition on "A Century of New Orleans Architecture," in the Marble Hall of the Customs House.
Jackson Square1958 - The society worked with the Vieux Carre Commission for passage of an ordinance to prevent "Demolition by Neglect." It also worked to restore and maintain Gallier Hall as a cultural center and to protect Jackson Square. In 1959 the Society opened an office in Gallier Hall.
1960 - The Society worked with others to preserve and maintain the Vieux Carre. In particular it worked to save the Cabildo and Presbytere from ruin.
1961 - The Society prepared the Pilot Study which resulted in the Schlieder Foundation granting funs to Tulane School of Architecture to supervise the block by block Vieux Carre Survey. It also worked to prevent down zoning the block of the Holy Family Convent and its conversion into a wax museum and saved the Olivier House at 828 Toulouse from immediate demolition.
Columns being removed from the Pitot House as Harnett Kane and T.D. Brandon look on. 1963 - The Society joined in a lawsuit to invalidate a 1946 ordinance which exempted certain properties from the jurisdiction of the Vieux Carre Commission.
1963-64 - Harnett T. Kane led the Society to save the Pitot House from demolition.
1965- 1969 The Riverfront Expressway Fight: opposition to plans to build an elevated expressway along the historic Vieux Carre riverfront. The Society led other groups in a lawsuit against the proposed Riverfront Expressway in 1967. The battle was finally won in 1969.
1966 - The swift unpublicized demolition of Three Oaks Plantation House by the American Sugar Company led the Society to encourage parish protection against such actions. It implored St. Bernard Parish to save and maintain the de la Ronde oaks and create a park at the site. Urged the saving of Madame John's Legacy, Worked with a Baton Rouge group to save Magnolia Mound Plantation.
1967 - The Society led other groups in suit against the proposed riverfront expressway.
Three Oaks Plantation House 1968 - Dr. Robert Judice, as Society President, organized the Louisiana Symposium. This was held in Baton Rouge with preservationists throughout the State participating.
Also, the first annual Harnett T. Kane Preservation Award presented by the Society to Mrs. S.L. Wright of Crowley.
1969 - Riverfront elevated expressway battle was won. Department of Transportation allocated the fund dedicated to this expressway (I-310) to I-410 on the West Bank.
1970 - Second Louisiana Symposium was held in New Iberia, the third in Opelousas. The Society worked to prevent demolition of Stanley house on Annunciation Square. Many houses in New Orleans were listed in National Register through encouragement of the Society.
Stanley House 1971 - The Napoleon Avenue bridge fight was started. the Society joined Uptown civic groups in this endeavor. It also helped Alexandria, LA group with Kent House rescue and restoration. Pitot House, now restored, was accepted for listing on the National Register for historic places.
1972 - The Society supported the City's proposal to restore the old French Market. Bond issue for the project was authorized and preliminary plans were initiated.
1973 - St. Charles Ave. Streetcar Line was place on National Register of Historic Places. Pitot House was opened as the only plantation house in the city available to the public as a home museum. Mr. and Mrs. J.D. Didier became resident curators and the Society office was moved to the Pitot House.
1974 - first Bayou Bamboula was held to raise fund for maintenance and improvements of the Pitot House.
Pitot House at night reflected in Bayou St. John during a Bamboula Party, October 21, 1978. 1975 - The Society joined in suit to prevent installation of Son et Lumiere (a garish sound and light display) in Jackson Square. The Society's first annual Plantation Christmas tour was held.
1976 - The Society celebrated its 25th anniversary with Martha Robinson recounting the Society's history at a birthday party at Gallier Hall. An exhibit at the Tulane Library presented "The Louisiana Landmarks Society: Aims & Accomplishments 1950 - 1976". The Society supported the establishment of the Historic District Landmarks Commission to oversee preservation of St. Charles Ave. & the Lower Garden District.
1977 - Advisory Council on Historic Preservation held public hearings on plans for proposed parallel span on Mississippi River Bridge. The Society was represented at all hearings. Creation of Jean Lafitte National Park was urged by the Society. The drive of Historic Faubourg St. Mary Corp. Revolving Fund for Historic Preservation in the CBD was aided by the Society.
1978 - The Society supported the creation of the Central Business District in New Orleans, as well as the Jean Lafitte National Park legislation passed by Congress. Torre House bequeathed to the Society.
1979 - Fort Proctor, Orange Grove and Fort Macomb were given Society's attention. Canal Place project in New Orleans and IT Corp. plans for waste dump in Ascension Parish were monitored.
Lost New Orleans by Mary Cable 1980 - Lost New Orleans was written by Mary Cable and sponsored by the Louisiana Landmarks Society, was published. William R. Cullison, III, marked the Society's thirtieth anniversary with publication of The Louisiana Landmarks Society - The First Thirty Years.
1981 - Society joined suit to halt proposed closing of the mouth of Bayou St. John at Lake Pontchartrain. Eldorado plantation house in Pointe Coupee Parish was threatened with expropriation by Missouri Pacific Railroad.
1982 - With the proceeds from the sale of Benachi-Torre House, the Society established the Venetia and Louis Torre Memorial Fund to provide grants for projects relating to historic preservation.
1983 - The operation of the Pitot House museum by the Society was expanded with the museum opened for tours four days a week.
Landmarks of New Orleans by Leonard V. Huber 1984 - The Society published Landmarks of New Orleans by Leonard V. Huber, the first book to illustrate and describe all New Orleans landmarks designated by national, state, and local bodies.
1985 - The Society made a permanent gift to the Southeastern Architectural Archive of Tulane University of its collection of records, photographs, and other materials. The importance and scope of the Landmarks Society Collection was demonstrated by the items included in the Archive's 1986 exhibition, "Recent Acquisitions".
1986 - Photographer-historian Betsy Swanson gave a lecture on her study of recent archeological discoveries on the site of the Battle of New Orleans and the Society endorsed her proposal for accurate recreation of the battlefield. The Society also sponsored a Spring Tour of four Nineteenth Century homes on Bayou St. John.
1987 - The Samuel Wilson, Jr. Publication Fund was established in September 1987.
1988 - As a major donor for the Sophie Wright statue, the Society participated in its dedication. The Society, with other preservationists, helped succeed in preserving the St. Charles streetcars from a threatened renovation which would have destroyed their historic integrity. An inventory of the furnishings at the Pitot House Museum was completed.