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List Highlights America’s Most Endangered Places

The National Historic Trust for Historic Preservation released Wednesday its annual list of endangered sites, including buildings and neighborhoods. Jeffrey Brown speaks with Trust President Richard Moe.

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  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    In New Orleans' historic neighborhoods, the distinctive shotgun-style houses are part of the city's cultural traditions. On Mississippi's Gulf Coast, landmark buildings help tell the story of the area.

    These victims of Katrina and much more make up the 2006 list of "America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places," that highlights a range of threatened buildings, sites and neighborhoods around the nation. The list was issued today by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, a private non-profit organization. Its president, Richard Moe, joins me now.

    And welcome to you.

    RICHARD MOE, President, National Trust for Historic Preservation: Thank you.

  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    Why don't you start by explaining what's the point of this list, and what are the criteria for getting on it?

  • RICHARD MOE:

    Every year, we issue the 11 most endangered historic places list to bring attentions to different kinds of threats to different kinds of historic places all over the country. It's meant to be a representative list.

    And these places get nominated by individuals all over. It goes through a vetting process. It's very competitive, and it's highly desirable to get placed on this list, because being on the list almost invariably brings very positive attention and often resources. We've only lost two sites in 18 years that have been placed on this list.

  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    This year, clearly, Katrina set your agenda, in large part. Start with New Orleans and from the perspective of the question of preservation. What are the main concerns?

  • RICHARD MOE:

    The main concerns are, number one, New Orleans is one of the most historic cities in America. There are layers and layers of culture and history there.

    Half of the area of the city is made up of 38,000 historic structures. The vast majority of these, the bungalows, the shotgun houses, the Creole cottages, and so forth, the vast majority were flooded. But, happily, the vast majority of those can be saved.

    So what we're trying to do is to help the residents of those historic districts get the resources and the technical help that they need to re-occupy their homes. It's a huge task, but we're making progress.