Marigny residents and neighborhood organizations opposed to the demolition of an old, abandoned house at 2501 St. Claude Avenue have a filed a lawsuit to stop the demolition.
The building is owned by Infinity Fuels, LLC, a company owned by businessman Troy Henry and actor Wendell Pierce. They own the gas station next door, and have sought to demolish the house to make way for a renovated food mart as part of the gas station’s expansion.
After a length battle with neighbors and various city agencies, the New Orleans City Council on Feb. 4 voted 4-3 to allow the demolition. The council vote trumped the Historic District Landmark Commission’s previous vote to oppose the demolition.
“Plaintiffs fear that during the pendency of these proceedings, defendants shall issue a building permit for and cause the demolition of the building at 2501 St. Claude Avenue and that plaintiffs will suffer irreparable loss of the historic significance of the building, the importance of the building to the tout ensemble of the Marigny District,” the lawsuit says.
Adjacent neighbors Brooke Muntean Kyte and Matthew Kyte, along with the Faubourg Marigny Improvement Association, and St. Claude Avenue Main Street filed the lawsuit March 4. The crux of the allegation is that (i) Henry and NORA did not follow procedures when Henry purchased the property from NORA in 2011, resulting in a sweetheart deal, and (ii) no one submitted a written appeal to the HDLC’s decision to prevent the demolition, which is required by law for the City Council to take up the matter.
The first hearing is set for March 16 in front of Orleans Civil District Judge Tiffany Chase.