The pews are gone. The baptismal font and non secular statues have been eliminated, and the church bell is not within the belfry. Even the stained glass home windows are in storage elsewhere.
For now, Our Woman of Lourdes Catholic Church at 2400 Napoleon Ave. awaits the subsequent chapter in its practically 100-year historical past.
Building on the Spanish Colonial Revival church started in 1925 — 80 years earlier than floodwater from the levee breaches that adopted Hurricane Katrina ended the primary chapter in its existence. It’s at the moment provided on the market and awaits rebirth and a brand new incarnation.
Gordon McLeod of The McEnery Co., the itemizing agent for the property, defined the difficult arc that introduced the church and its rectory so far.
“The water harm from Hurricane Katrina got here at a time when the archdiocese was closing and merging a variety of New Orleans parishes, and so Our Lady of Lourdes never reopened after August of 2005,” McLeod stated.
It had the power to resist the floodwaters, nonetheless. “It was in-built an period when metal was starting for use for the structural parts of enormous buildings, so it maintained its structural integrity regardless of having been stuffed with water within the storm,” McLeod stated. “The construction is sound except for the transept corners, which would require some shoring.”
Designed by architects Diboll and Owens, the constructing contains a rusticated stucco exterior with a facade punctuated by two sq., copper-domed towers, separated on the floor stage by a loggia having three arched openings and a terracotta tile roof.
The church anchors the uptown-lake nook of the sq. bounded by Napoleon Avenue, and La Salle, Jena and Freret streets. Additionally on the sq. are the church annex, or rectory, and the now-closed Holy Rosary Academy, a separate property.
“The archdiocese thought-about different makes use of for the church constructing, however finally deconsecrated it and put up for sale in about 2015 after subdividing the church and its rectory from the varsity,” McLeod stated. “That was about when Greg St. Angelo’s group (616 Girod LLC) purchased the property.”
In April 2016, the church and rectory have been bought for $1.3 million by 616 Girod LLC, whose principal agent was St. Angelo. For the subsequent 12 months, the long run appeared shiny for the previous home of worship: An Uptown opera heart was envisioned for the location, with the sanctuary internet hosting performances and a portion of the rectory getting used for costumes and workers assist.
Sizeler Thompson Architects devised plans for the church and rectory, and Landis Building started work as the overall contractor for the adaptive reuse of the property.
However simply because the redevelopment mission was gaining momentum in April 2017, work stopped abruptly.
First NBC Financial institution, the entity financing the mission, was shut down by regulators. Worse nonetheless, 616 Girod’s principal, St. Angelo, was indicted and subsequently pleaded responsible to conspiring to defraud the financial institution, his employer of at the least 10 years.
The collapse of the financial institution and St. Angelo’s authorized points meant that the church and rectory have been in limbo for about two years till Landis Building Co. acquired them for $1.9 million in Could 2019.
Landis has been restoring the buildings and changing the rectory, or annex, into places of work. That constructing is being bought to an undisclosed purchaser.
“Proper now, Landis is about 85 to 90% completed with the historic rehabilitation of the annex, and it’s below contract,” stated McLeod. “Elements 1 and a couple of of the tax credit have been filed, and the patrons are of their due diligence interval.”
McLeod described the entity that’s shopping for the previous rectory as “a well known and extremely revered native enterprise” that plans to relocate its places of work from downtown to Uptown, attracted by the choice of getting a free-standing, three-story constructing with ample parking. The closing on the sale is predicted later this summer time.
With the sale of the rectory imminent, that leaves solely the church constructing and not using a new use.
“For now, the church is weathertight,” stated McLeod. “Landis has been a wonderful steward of the constructing and has tended to quite a lot of small tasks wanted to make sure its building readiness.”
Providing virtually 12,000 sq. ft of flooring house and loads of architectural belongings, the sanctuary rivals many different former New Orleans homes of worship which have been repurposed lately.
Principal among the many listing of adaptive reuse tasks is Lodge Peter and Paul, the profitable conversion of the Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, college, convent and rectory on Burgundy Road in Faubourg Marigny. Others embody the Norwegian Seamen’s Church on Prytania Road within the Decrease Backyard District, slated to become a wellness center.
The house of the Southern Rep Theatre is one other distinguished adaptive reuse mission: The theater is now housed within the transformed St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church on Bayou Street in Esplanade Ridge. The previous First United Baptist Church on South Norman C. Francis Parkway in Mid Metropolis discovered a new use as an apartment building.
With its Uptown location and proximity to the burgeoning Freret hall, Our Woman of Lourdes is taken into account a pure candidate for a conversion mission. For inspiration, a purchaser could must look no additional than the previous Holy Trinity Catholic Church on St. Ferdinand Road in Faubourg Marigny, now often known as the Marigny Opera Home. A well-liked venue for ballet, theatrical and musical performances, the constructing has additionally hosted the filming of music movies in addition to weddings, together with the 2014 movie star marriage ceremony of Solange Knowles and Alan Ferguson.
“We have now spoken to potential patrons who’re fascinated with making (Our Woman of Lourdes) into an occasion house, in addition to these fascinated with a meals corridor idea,” McLeod stated. “It requires a purchaser conversant in historic tax credit score offers and an important private need to return it to commerce.” Amen …
Reporter R. Stephanie Bruno might be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.