The high winds and heavy rains of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and the subsequent widespread
flooding damaged many buildings in Orleans Parish, including the Thomy Lafon Elementary
School, 2601 Seventh Street, New Orleans, LA. In the aftermath of the hurricanes, the Federal
Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is issuing this public notice as part of its
responsibilities under the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation's (ACHP) regulations, 36
CFR Part 800, implementing Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as
amended. This notice applies to activities carried out by the Public Assistance (PA) program
implemented under the authority of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency
Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C.§§ 5152-5206.
RSD has determined through the School Facility Master Plan adopted by the Orleans Parish
School Board on November 6, 2008 and the Louisiana State Board of Elementary and
Secondary Education on November 12, 2008 that the repair of this damaged facility does not
meet its needs and has requested that FEMA provide funds for the demolition of the Lafon
School. The ACHP's regulations require FEMA, as the Federal funding agency, to identify if any
of the properties that may be affected by this project are listed in or eligible for listing in the
National Register of Historic Places and to assess the effect the project will have on these
FEMA, in consultation with the State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO), has determined that
the main classroom building (Building C) and the administration building (Building A) at
the Thomy Lafon School are eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic
Places. FEMA and the SHPO have also determined that the library (Building D) and the
cafeteria-auditorium building (Building B) are not eligible for inclusion in the National
Register of Historic Places.
In order to identify archaeological resources that may be affected by the proposed
demolition, FEMA examined maps to identify the locations of previously recorded
archaeological sites and any buildings that were located on the project site prior to the
construction of the school. The Thomy Lafon Elementary School is located on the site of
the former Locust Grove Cemetery #1 and #2. Locust Grove Cemetery #1 opened in
1859 and was located in the block bounded by Sixth, Seventh, Magnolia (now Freret) and
Locust (now S. Robertson) streets. Locust Grove Cemetery #2 was opened in 1877 and
closed in 1879. It was located on the block bounded by Sixth, Harmony, Locust, and
Magnolia Streets. Both cemeteries were demolished in 1905 for the construction of the
first Thomy Lafon School. It is uncertain if all burials associated with the cemeteries
were removed during the construction of the original and existing Thomy Lafon schools.
FEMA has determined that demolition of the Thomy Lafon Elementary School will
constitute an Adverse Effect to historic properties and is seeking input from members of
the public on ways to avoid, minimize, or mitigate this adverse effect.
FEMA has scheduled a public meeting on September 23, 2009 from 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm
at the C.J. Peete Community Center, 2514 Washington Street, New Orleans, LA 70113.
This meeting will provide the public with the opportunity to find out about FEMA's
Historic Preservation Review and express views on historic preservation issues related to
the demolition of the Thomy Lafon Elementary School.
Any member of the public is encouraged to provide views on this project to FEMA. Comments
can be submitted to FEMA for a 15-day period beginning on September 15, 2009 at
http://www.crt.state.la.us/culturalassets/fema106/ or by regular mail.
Mailed comments should be sent to:
Federal Emergency Management Agency
Louisiana Transitional Recovery Office
1250 Poydras Street, 17th Floor
New Orleans, LA 70113
If mailed, comments and requests must be physically received at this address by September 30,
c. 1954 by Frank Lotz Miller, © Tulane Libraries,
Special Collections, Southeastern Architectural Archive
c. 2008 by FEMA