Dedicated to preserving the historic and unique architectural character of New Orleans’ neighborhoods, the PRC has been in the forefront of preservation efforts throughout its thirty-plus years of existence. The center was founded by the Junior League of New Orleans in 1974 and has grown in both size and influence since that time. Since its founding, the PRC has saved and/or renovated over 1,400 properties within New Orleans and the surrounding area. Visitors can discuss the history and architecture of the city with experts at the PRC. The center itself features both permanent and rotating exhibits on New Orleans architecture and historic neighborhoods.
Distinguished by its extraordinary cast-iron Gothic Revival facade, the building was designed by the firm of Gallier and Turpin for the Leeds Iron Foundry and erected in 1853. The Leeds Foundry used the ground floor of the building as a showroom and the upper two floors as storage space. Rated purple by the Historic District Landmarks Commission, the building is judged to be of national architectural significance.
Despite its distinguished past, the building had been vacant for more than a dozen years when the PRC purchased it in March of 1998. Thanks to generous donations by PRC supporters, work began in earnest on our new home in early 2000. Friends, board members, staff and supporters of the PRC gathered on November 11, 2000 to cut the ribbon and dedicate the building to the memory of James M. Davis.
Though the exterior of the building is faithful to its mid-nineteenth century design, project architects Wettermark & Kieffer reconfigured the interior with a dramatic contemporary design. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places and was designated as a local landmark by the Historic District Landmarks Commission.
Today, the PRC's departments are housed together under the Leeds-Davis roof. Building amenities include an exhibition area, book sales area, conference room, and resource library. Neighborhood exhibits and models of historic buildings offer visitors an unprecedented opportunity to discover and experience New Orleans' historic architecture and neighborhoods.
The center offers numerous and varied resources for all those interested in historic preservation within the city of New Orleans. Its Operation Comeback promotes the purchase and renovation of vacant historic properties, while its Rebuilding Together is a neighborhood revitalization program that offers home improvement services to elderly, low-income, and/or disabled homeowners at no cost to them. Additionally, the PRC hosts an annual Holiday House tour as well as other tours throughout the year, such as its shotgun house tour.
It also offers events, classes and workshops for property owners, publishes material that relate to the restoration and preservation of historic properties (to include its monthly publication, Preservation in Print), and provides resources on disaster recovery, purchasing a historic building, preservation easements, and advocating for a particular neighborhood. Educational opportunities include its popular First Time Homebuyer and Renovator classes. The center also operates a Preservation Salvage Store located at 2801 Marois St. which is open Monday through Saturday from 9:00-4:30.