Louisiana Landmarks Society Presents Harnett T. Kane Award To Chapman For Lifetime Contributions To Historic Preservation
NEW ORLEANS – The Louisiana Landmarks Society awarded its highest honor, the 2017 Harnett T. Kane Award, to Nathan Chapman on Monday, May 8, at the Pitot House. The award—created and endowed by Louisiana Landmarks Society’s founding member Harnett T. Kane in 1965—recognizes an individual or organization for significant lifetime contributions to historic preservation.
“Nathan Chapman’s lifelong commitment to the preservation of New Orleans history epitomizes the Louisiana Landmarks Society’s mission of promoting historic preservation through education and advocacy,” says Landmarks Society President Sandra Stokes.
A passionate New Orleans preservationist and business leader, Chapman has made the revitalization of the city of New Orleans his life and business’ mission, Society reps said. A marketer by profession, Chapman first moved to New Orleans in 1984 and became a resident of the Vieux Carré in 1985. He embarked on his first work for historic preservation as the chair of the Vieux Carré Property Owners, Residents and Associates’ (VCPORA) Riverfront Committee to combat a string of tourist attractions encroaching on the French Quarter. Using his marketing expertise to advance his passion, Chapman was able to successfully communicate that the Vieux Carré’s value as a precious historic neighborhood was much more than a tourist destination, effectively reversing the proposed development, Society reps said. When the city’s historic riverfront was being threatened once again, he organized the Riverfront Alliance, a coalition of downriver riverfront neighborhoods, which he currently chairs.
A proponent of using marketing along with community organizing to achieve his goals as a preservationist, Chapman founded his own niche advertising and marketing agency, Firmidable, (formerly The Marketing Center), in 1991. This career opportunity also created the schedule flexibility necessary for Chapman to pursue his volunteer efforts wholeheartedly.
Chapman and his agency partner, Dennis L. Alonzo, pioneered preservation advocacy advertising in New Orleans, including stopping the demolition of the Cumberland Telephone building on Poydras Street through a pro bono TV commercial in 1996. They also purchased and renovated a threatened Greek Revival-style French Creole cottage, The Rome House, in Ascension Parish on the historic River Road. Through their efforts, they were able to place this threatened 1860s-era home on the National Register of Historic Places.
Chapman ardently promotes reasonable sound level regulation—a cause motivated by unregulated Bourbon Street noise that drove him from his Vieux Carré home. He returned to the French Quarter after four years, purchasing and restoring an 1832 Creole townhouse.
He has served on the board of Louisiana Landmarks Society and served as president of the VCPORA from 2002 to 2008, leading that organization to sweeping success in all of its legislative battles during his tenure. Achievements included leading an effort against turning North Rampart into another entertainment district as well as campaigning to uphold the city’s long-held French Quarter “hotel moratorium,” eventually convincing the mayor to issue an unprecedented veto for a city land-use issue.
While serving as president of VCPORA, Chapman witnessed Hurricane Katrina upend the lives of New Orleanians. He was an active participant in the city’s Unified New Orleans Plan (UNOP) recovery process and helped lead coalitions of neighborhoods in standing up for historic preservation as the city struggled to recover, Society reps said.
In 2008, Chapman presented the Louisiana Landmark Society’s annual Martha Robinson lecture on the topic of “How to Win at City Hall.” He received VCPORA’s Gage-Schwartz Preservation Award in 2009 and the Vieux Carré Commission’s Elizabeth T. Werlein Award that same year.
In being told of the Harnett T. Kane award, Chapman said, “New Orleans would not be the great city that it is without the tireless work of organizations like the Louisiana Landmarks Society. I am very honored to be recognized for having played a small part in preserving the culture and historic built environment of such a special place.”
Prior to the award presentation, The Louisiana Landmarks Society held its annual meeting electing the Board of Trustees officers and new board members for the coming 2017-2018 term.
Officers elected include:
Sandra L. Stokes
1st Vice President:
2nd Vice President:
James R. Logan, IV
New Board Members:
Mamie Sterkx Gasperecz
T. Gordon McLeod
Continuing Board Members:
Charles A. (Chuck) Berg, AIA
Howard W. Mielke, Ph.D.
Thomas W. (Tommy) Milliner
Mary Price Robinson
R. Stephen Chauvin, AIA, NCARB
Hilary Somerville Irvin
Established in 1950, the Louisiana Landmarks Society is the state’s oldest nonprofit preservation organization, whose mission is to promote historic preservation through education, advocacy and operation of the Pitot House. Landmarks rapidly defined preservation advocacy in New Orleans through campaigns that resulted in the protection of Gallier Hall, the Carrollton Courthouse building, and defeat of the proposed Riverfront Expressway in the 1960s. Landmarks’ most visible manifestation of its preservation principles is the historic c. 1799 Pitot House. Landmarks removed the Pitot House from the threat of demolition in 1964 when it acquired and relocated the structure 200 feet away. Today, the Pitot House functions as Landmarks’ headquarters and as a historic house museum open to the public.
L to R: Louisiana Landmarks Society elected its Board of Trustees officers and new board members for the coming 2017-2018 term on May 9. From left: Jay Seastrunk, Drew Stewart, Jerry Pepper, Tommy Milliner, Carol Allen, Jim Logan, Michael Duplantier, Nathan Lott, Sandra Stokes, Stephen Chauvin, Hilary Irvin, Louis McFaul and Mary Price Robinson. AND. Louisiana Landmarks Society held its annual meeting on May, electing five new board members. From left: Robin Ruiz, Gordon McLeod, Mamie Gasperecz and Sally Reeves. Not pictured: Janie Glade.