One of those instrumental in choosing Crowley as the spot of the next “Ramble” for the Louisiana Trust for Historic Preservation, Altha Lee Ripley, spoke to the Rotary Club of Crowley Tuesday about the LTHP’s mission and what has led to a “Ramble” in Crowley this weekend.
Ripley is one of 18 members of the LTHP board of directors. These directors serve as the governing board of the 501c3 organization, which was founded in 1979. This board of directors is strictly made of volunteers that Ripley described Tuesday as “community-minded.”
The organization is the statewide partner of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. It strives to protect, enhance and enjoy the places that matter to all of Louisiana.
It does this in three ways — through acts and laws, education and technical support.
“We are in contact with legislators regularly and are aware of laws and tax credits, which are one of our greatest assets,” said Ripley.
Ripley cited the New Orleans Convention Center’s restoration as an example where investors paid roughly 25 percent of the cost thanks to tax credits.
Education through the LTHP has several venues including a day-long conference.
It’s third facet, technical support, can be noticed through things like grants. However, with budget cuts, those measures have not been as easy as in the past.
The LTHP also identifies and tries to help local groups in their efforts to save endangered sites. Current endangered structures include the Holy Rosary Institute of Lafayette built in 1915.
Ripley explained that the group associated with the site is attempting to raise $1 million to keep the building standing before they can even look to raising the necessary funds to restore the building.
She says the group is struggling and without the typical grant money, the LTHP is limited in the ways it can help.
Ripley then turned her attention to Crowley and what led the group to choose the city for its Saturday “Ramble.”
A “Ramble,” which is a leisurely excursion for pleasure, serves as a fundraiser for the LTHP. But Ripley joked that thanks to the busy itinerary that Alice Whiting and Charlotte Jeffers have combined to create, there will not be much “rambling.”
When Ripley presented Crowley as the location, she says the trust “wholeheartedly agreed that Crowley is the ‘rice and easy’ place to be.”
The day will being at 9:30 a.m. with registration at the Historic Rice Theatre. The morning will encompass tours of Crowley’s historic sites which include the theater, city hall and the Grand Opera House of the South.
At noon the group will enjoy a box lunch, which their registration fees have helped pay for and is also being prepared by a local business, which will also help show off Crowley’s uniqueness.
The afternoon will see the attention turned to three historic homes — the Barousse, Holland and Lawrence homes. At the end of the tour, a riding tour of Crowley’s Historic District will also be available.
So far, Ripley says, about 50 people have signed up through the invitations sent out and she believes they still have a few more by Saturday.