New Orleans is renowned for its architecture, from antebellum mansions and mid-century modern homes to iconic churches and historical buildings. These buildings preserve New Orleans’ rich history and culture, enabling them to be shared with future generations. This means that there are a number of special considerations to take into account for home renovation projects in certain New Orleans neighborhoods like the French Quarter, the Marigny, the Garden District, and the Irish Channel, just to name a few.
Historic District Landmarks Commission Guidelines
Historic preservation is an important part of celebrating the rich cultural, architectural, and economic heritage of any city, especially one with such a rich background as New Orleans. While buyers are drawn to the architecture and character distinct to so many New Orleans homes, these older homes are often in need of renovation. Unfortunately, not all renovations stay true to the authenticity of the property or the neighborhood, and that’s why historic preservation guidelines were drawn up many years ago to preserve the integrity of local homes and neighborhoods.
But these outdated historic renovation guidelines were no longer helpful or clear to homeowners and contractors in today’s world, so the Historic District Landmarks Commission (HDLC) published new historic renovation guidelines in 2015 to give homeowners and developers clear, concise information for making renovations, including user-friendly diagrams and illustrations. These new guidelines have helped hundreds of homeowners update their homes to comply with historic regulations while preserving the authenticity of their communities.
What Constitutes a Historic Building?
Individual buildings or sites that have been determined to have a historical significance or unique architectural or cultural heritage are called historic resources, and historic districts are areas that contain a major concentration of historic resources. In the city of New Orleans, there are more than 14,000 historic resources deemed worthy of preservation by the National Register of Historic Places. Designation as a historic landmark means that all exterior work on buildings and properties requires the approval of the Historic District Landmarks Commission. In New Orleans, designating buildings and neighborhoods as historic has helped increase neighborhood stability and property values, preserve the physical history of the area, foster a sense of community pride, and boost tourism in historic districts.
Submitting a Certificate of Appropriateness
Before beginning historic renovation work, homeowners must submit a Certificate of Appropriateness to the HDLC. First, they will reach out to the HDLC to determine the historic rating for their property, then they will use this information to consult the guidelines (available at www.nola.gov/hdlc/) pertaining to the type of work they have planned, selecting the design options and materials that have been deemed appropriate for the architectural and historical characteristics of their property. Next, the homeowner and contractor will submit an application to the HDLC before obtaining approval to begin construction on their historic renovation project. Homeowners who fail to receive the Certificate of Appropriateness before beginning construction will receive a Stop Work Order violation until the certificate is obtained.
MLM Incorporated has years of experience helping homeowners in the greater New Orleans area preserve and renovate historic properties. If you’re looking to buy a property or renovate your current historic home, contact us at 504-322-7050 to learn how we can help.