News that New Orleans mayor may be living without rent and taxes in a luxury city-owned apartment Some wonder why local governments own such prime properties.
The story begins with Great Fire of 1788856 of New Orleans’ 1,100 buildings were destroyed. Later, Don Andrés Almonester y Rojas, a wealthy civil servant in the Spanish colonial government, financed the construction of the Cabildo, St. Louis Cathedral, and the Lakeside Presbytere in Jackson Square. “Arms. Historic According to his New Orleans Collection, he owned land on the upper St. Peter Street side of the square and on the lower St. Ann Street side.
His daughter, Michaela Leonard Antonia Almonester y Rohase, Baroness de Pontalbawas born in New Orleans on November 6, 1795. According to her Pontalba website, after her father’s death, she inherited his estate and after selling part of her Road property in Bayeux, she published plans for a square in 1849. Did. .Peter, St. Her Anne’s Set of 16.
The Baroness and her sons moved into a house at 5 St. Peter. She also renamed Place Her Darm after Andrew Her Jackson, the hero of the 1815 Battle of New Orleans, and persuaded city officials to turn the square into a formal garden.
But she didn’t stay long. In 1852, the Baroness and her sons moved to Paris, where she died in her 1874.
According to the Upper Pontalba website, after her grandson Edouard, the last Baron of Pontalba, died in 1918, philanthropists purchased the Upper and Lower buildings from his estate.
When Lower Pontalba’s owner, William Ratcliffe Irby, died in 1927, he bequeathed the building to the Louisiana State Museum. to the city of New Orleans.
In 1935, both buildings were converted into apartments and entered the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.
Upper Pontalba is now managed by the city-owned French Market Corporation. The French Market Corporation rents out apartments, but historically for the mayor’s use he reserves one unit. In the past, the apartment was a place to entertain and entertain visiting dignitaries, but this week the Metropolitan Crime Commission asked the city council to investigate evidence that Cantrell moved there earlier this year.
Lower Pontalba is managed by the Louisiana State Museum, and since 1996, one apartment has been set aside for museum use. 2017 Interim Director resigned in protest Lieutenant Billy Nungesser, head of the museum’s parent company’s Department of Culture, Tourism and Recreation, accused him of using the apartment for personal gain. Nungesser has denied the allegations. Two years later, however, Nungesser changed his policy and allowed the lieutenant governor and his department to use the apartment.
Both buildings now have commercial space on the ground floor and apartments on the second and third floors.
The Upper Pontalba Building’s most recent major work was a renovation and restoration from 1993 to 1995 that cost more than $8 million. This included converting the 4th floor attic into a further 18 apartments.
The mayor is responsible for paying back taxpayers the nearly $30,000 spent on flight upgrades.
Mayor Latoya Cantrell is “not obligated” to pay rent for a city-owned apartment in the Upper Pontalba building, a spokesperson said.