Danielle Del Sol
Danielle Del Sol has been the Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans’ executive director since 2018. Before that, she was editor of its monthly magazine, Preservation in Print. Del Sol is an adjunct lecturer in the Master of Preservation Studies program at Tulane University and she serves on the City of New Orleans’ Central Business District Historic District Landmarks Commission. A Miami native, she earned degrees at Tulane University and Hendrix College.
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Building on the Past: Saving Historic New Orleans
Don’t call it the city that care forgot. For more than a century, passionate residents of New Orleans have come up with innovative ways to rescue, restore and preserve the historic architecture that creates this city’s singular sense of place. This beautiful new book published by the Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans chronicles modern efforts to save the soul of a 300-year-old city and ensure its bright future honors its rich past.
Told through a series of building profiles, this 192-page book shares the stories of the people behind the places and their journeys to preserve the history as well as the bricks and mortar. Written by award-winning New Orleans journalists Danielle Del Sol, John Pope and Susan Langenhennig, each chapter explores the cutting-edge methods and tools that preservationists use today to make projects successful, including utilizing historic tax credits, façade easements and revolving funds and galvanizing the community. Lessons learned from these often complex restoration projects can serve as role models for preservation efforts across the nation.
The buildings profiled here run the gamut, from the modest shotgun homes where some of New Orleans’ earliest jazz musicians perfected their sound; to a trio of pre-Civil War buildings that were blighted and barely standing before they were transformed into chic new apartments; to the multi-million-dollar effort to save the Saenger Theatre after it was flooded in Hurricane Katrina.
To underscore the urgency of this historic preservation work, the book also includes a chapter on important buildings that were not saved from the wrecking ball. These obituaries of lost buildings were written by John Pope, one of the most celebrated obituary writers in the United States, who has profiled New Orleans’ most famous — and infamous — dearly departed.
Bringing it all to life is gorgeous architectural photography by award-winning photojournalist Chris Granger that is juxtaposed with historic images of buildings and streetscapes around the city. All together, these photos and stories show how the act of restoring a building can transform a neighborhood and usher a historic city into the future.
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