New Orleans African American Museum to undergo renovations

The New Orleans African American Museum will get $3 million from the city to launch a $6 million campaign to expand and upgrade the Treme attraction, Mayor Mitch Landrieu will announce today.

The city will dedicate $3 million in federal Community Development Block Grant money to the museum, founded in the late 1990s.
Landrieu is expected to say that the city is counting on the expanded museum to contribute to the revitalization of Treme by spurring nearby business development, creating jobs and developing a cultural center of importance to the entire city and beyond.
The museum is based in the Treme Villa, an 1828 mansion at 1418 Gov. Nicholls St. that's also known as the Villa Meilleur or the Meilleur-Goldthwaite House.

The $6 million project will include acquiring the house across the street at 1417-19 Gov. Nicholls and renovating some of the seven buildings in the current museum complex that stretches for a full block along North Villere Street, from Gov. Nicholls to Ursulines Street.

The key projects will be restoring the blighted Passebon Cottage at 1431-33 Ursulines and reconstructing the cottage's rear slave quarters building.

The entire capital campaign, said Jonn Hankins, the museum's executive director, "will restore the buildings and grounds of the NOAAM campus to reflect their glory days of the 1840s, when Treme was the most sophisticated African American neighborhood in America."

The end result, he said, will be "a restored Creole community circa 1845 here in Treme."
A city spokeswoman said the $6 million campaign also will "serve to support collaboration between area universities and the museum in fields of creative arts, museum studies, art, history, archiving and educational programming."