11 Most Endangered Historic Places

Louisiana's Historic River Road

Year Listed: 1992
Location: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Threat: Development, Neglect

Significance

Along the banks of the Mississippi River, from Baton Rouge to New Orleans, a way of life is disappearing. On a 70-mile stretch of historic River Road, superb 18th- and 19th-century plantation houses, slave quarters, Creole cottages and archaeological sites, until now survivors of time, are inexorably deteriorating. But in the mid-90s, visitors to River Road, a popular biking, hiking and scenic driving trail and one of Louisiana's most popular tourist destinations, found the historic environment endangered. Vacant historic properties are being vandalized or demolished because their owners lack resources and are, at times, indifferent. While industry has become increasingly sensitive to preservation issues, industrial development has already taken an environmental and visual toll. Levee construction has further altered the historic integrity of the region. Comprehensive planning and action are urgently needed to safeguard the future of this area.