Calling All Area Preservationists To The Coliseum Place Baptist Church

The bricks are hitting the fan in the Lower Garden District. After its innards went up in flames early yesterday morning, the Coliseum Place Baptist Church was slated for demolition beginning 7AM today. As of this writing, the demo experts have been stalled by neighborhood preservationists, including a neighbor of mine jumping into the church for a while, who demand that at least the tower be preserved.

In the process of taking pictures about an hour ago, I befriended John Bose, area structural engineer, who suggests that the tower may remain intact if the rest of the building is taken down. However, the “owners” want no part of it.

Amid an offer to buy the place, journalists and city officials about to show up and general chaos over the building, nothing’s happening. Come on out and watch, maybe participate, in the proceedings. Here’s a chance for some real citizen participation in preserving one of the Lower Garden District’s and Louisiana’s historic gems.

14 Comments so far

  1. Laureen (unregistered) on June 23rd, 2006 @ 12:37 pm

    I just drove by there and I was astounded with the pace of demolition. I am still in shock. It’s so sad, I love that church. What is going on over there with the fires? They have had arson incidents in the past over there on C. Square. I am really beginning to wonder if there isn’t a serialist working that neighborhood. We also have the St. Andrew and St. Mary fires and the theater since Katrina. And another down Melpomene too.

  2. Adrastos (unregistered) on June 23rd, 2006 @ 12:42 pm

    I had exactly the same thought about arson myself. I hope they did a proper investigation first. The baptists have been practicing demolition by neglect there for years, he said regurgitating his own post.

  3. Paul Murphy (unregistered) on June 23rd, 2006 @ 1:23 pm

    Are they still out there? I am wrapping up some business in Kenner. If they are still out there I am gonna rush down there as soon as I wrap up here.

  4. jack (unregistered) on June 23rd, 2006 @ 1:46 pm

    Let me know when its an empty lot. I love empty lots!




    heh heh. sweet.

    empty lots 1

    churches -1

  5. Dasaner (unregistered) on June 23rd, 2006 @ 2:16 pm

    Real estate yields better returns than Jesus these days.

  6. Kapaali (unregistered) on June 23rd, 2006 @ 2:49 pm

    There are many Coliseum area residents (myself included) who have suspected a firebug in this neighborhood for a few years now. We’ve had way too many fires for them all to be normal.

  7. Paul Murphy (unregistered) on June 23rd, 2006 @ 3:04 pm

    Corey Johnson from WWL is out here and he is passionately trying to get this stoped. He is about to go on the air w/ Garland Robinette.

  8. Laurie (unregistered) on June 23rd, 2006 @ 3:43 pm

    Where is Anne Rice when you need her to buy a church and fix it up?

    O, Ms. Rice!!


  9. Todd 10-30 (unregistered) on June 23rd, 2006 @ 5:58 pm

    I heard the leader of the congregation say on radio, “we appealed for monetary help to fix the building, but no one came forward.”

    Perhaps donating a days pay instead of skipping work to hang out on that corner would have been more prudent. (too late)

  10. Paul Murphy (unregistered) on June 23rd, 2006 @ 6:39 pm

    Todd, I promise you, with the interest that was shown today, if the owner would have waited just one day before going ahead with the destruction, thousands could have been raised. But no real interest was shown by the owner in anything other than demolition.

  11. T. (unregistered) on June 23rd, 2006 @ 6:48 pm

    Was it demolished, or were they able to stop it?

  12. Paul Murphy (unregistered) on June 23rd, 2006 @ 10:55 pm

    They tore down the back where the convent was and they tore down part of the downtown side of the front of the church. They stopped for the day before they got to the main tower. The tower is the part that we want to try to save. Pretty much everyone has conceeded that the rest of the church is not structurally sound, but that the tower could be saved.

  13. Paul Murphy (unregistered) on June 24th, 2006 @ 9:56 am

    I wouuld like to thank Maitri V-R for writting about this when she did. As far as I know it had not been reported in any mainstream media before she wrote about it. Personally, I would not have known that this was going down, until it was too late, if it had not been for this article.

  14. Carolyn (unregistered) on June 25th, 2006 @ 12:49 am

    May 6, 1855
    Coliseum Place Baptist Church
    Rev. William Cecil Duncan, founding pastor

    “Soon our friends shall lay our lifeless bodies in the tomb, and there in solemn stillness shall they moulder away. But this temple still shall stand, though growing grey with age, and its tower pointing up to heaven shall discourse to others with silent eloquence of life eternal and immortal joys.”

    Thank you to everyone who worked so hard to try and save this structure. I grieve with you over its loss.

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