HOME AGAIN! Helps a Former Nun Return Home to Treme: From Poor Claires to Ursulines Street

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Veronica Stevenson stands in front of 1803 Ursulines Street.

Credit: Alex Lemann

Veronica Stevenson has lived in her 1858 Creole cottage in Tremé since 1993, when she fell in love with the house at 1803 Ursulines Street  after doing some nursing work around the corner. "I love the history of it. It's so unique," Stevenson says. "I wouldn't want to live anywhere else in the world."

Stevenson grew up in Selma, Alabama, and moved to New Orleans when she became a nun at age 16. After 20 years in the Poor Clare's monastery on Henry Clay Avenue, Stevenson's mother became ill and she left to care for her and pursue a nursing degree. Now, Stevenson is a dedicated member of St. Peter Claver Catholic Church, just down the street from her house, and she loves her neighborhood. "We're almost completely back since the storm," she says, surveying the street. "There's one house around the corner that's still empty, but you can see they're making progress. Other than a few rental units, all my neighbors are homeowners. It's wonderful."

Katrina's floodwaters missed Stevenson's interior by about six inches, but the wind ripped her old slate roof completely off. "All that water coming in the top was just as bad, let me tell you." After the storm, Stevenson found that she needed a new roof, new electrical work, and new air conditioning. A second floor gallery on the side of the old slave quarters had to be completely rebuilt. Thanks to a combination of insurance money and a generous Historic Building Recovery grant from the State Division of Historic Preservation, Stevenson was able to complete all the substantial work in short order. Now, thanks to a grant from HOME AGAIN!, her exterior is getting a new paint job.

 

 

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The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded nonprofit organization, works to save America’s historic places.
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