Dear Friends of DOCOMOMO-US/LA,
We regret to convey that Charles Colbert's lauded Phillis Wheatley Elementary began to be demolished on Friday 17 June 2011. Hannah Miet has covered the story for the Times Picayune. The structure is still standing, although battered by neglect and preliminary demolition work.
In this video clip from nola.com, former Phillis Wheatley Elementary student Phyllis Montana-LeBlanc, an actor and preservationist, witnessed the bulldozing. She has been a powerful advocate for saving the building. As we reported earlier this week, The Roots of Music envisioned renovating Phillis Wheatley School as the new headquarters for its nationally acclaimed youth program. DOCOMOMO-US/LA supported this proposal, canvassing Mayor Mitch Landrieu and new RSD Superintendent John White with pleas to preserve the innovative structure -- the site of historically significant music education programs -- for adaptive reuse. Despite such efforts, on 16 June, DOCOMOMO-US/LA supporters received letters advocating demolition from Mr. White, and bulldozers circled the next day.
While we are greatly saddened by this news, we want to convey our sincere thanks to all of you who lent your support!