Norla Preservation Project aims to save and reuse historic shotgun houses
SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) -
The Norla Preservation Project is a relatively new Shreveport group with an aim to save and transform historic buildings. Project founder Kelly Rich was driving through downtown in April when she came across a project that inspired her to start the group: a row of historic shotgun houses on Peabody street.
She was enchanted by the faded candy colored buildings, "They are beautiful, you can tell they are ready to tell some stories," said Rich. The homes get their name because of its structure, as the old saying goes, you can shoot a shot gun and the bullet will sail through the whole house without hitting anything.
But when Rich found out the homes were set for demolition, she was crushed, "I needed to do something, all I could do was try, even if they did get torn down at least I tried." By the end of April, she had launched the "Norla Preservation Project".
"I feel like there was a need, for some sort of historic preservation movement in the area because people are excited, they want to be a part of it," Rich explained to KSLA News 12 she has huge plans for the shot gun houses. She hopes to move the homes closer to downtown and transform them into 3 restaurants and retail shops, with a courtyard area.
The group doesn't have a total concrete cost for what it'll take to fix up the houses, but Rich estimates, it may take $50,000.00 per house to fix up, that's not even including the cost to move the houses to the site. "We haven't hit any major brick walls yet, but financing. We've got to find some funding opportunities," said Rich and explained support is growing each day.
The city along with the Shreveport historical preservation society are backing the project, "I'm truly pleased, excited, and overwhelmed that Kelly has taken this project on," said Winston Link, Shreveport Historical Preservation Society President.
The project is also gaining traction with local businesses, like the Fairfield Bed and Breakfast. John Cariere is the Inn Keeper and hosted the group's last fundraiser, a prohibition party. "While Shreveport has lost a lot of it's historic buildings, I think we need to save what remains," said Cariere.
Rich admits there is a lot of work to be done, but she is excited about the possibilities, the six houses may bring.
For more information about the project and how to get involved, click here.