The Foundation’s mission is to support and further the cause and constitutional charge of the Vieux Carré Commission:
to preserve and to protect the invaluable historic architectural heritage of New Orleans’ French Quarter.
The Foundation pursues this mission by not only providing the VCC with needed equipment and supplies, but also funding and undertaking major projects for the benefit of the VCC, which the agency is unable to pursue on its own due to its limited means.
History of The Foundation
The roots of the Vieux Carré Commission Foundation go back more than thirty years to 1986
when the organization was first chartered to coordinate the celebration and commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the formation of the Vieux Carré Commission (“VCC”). Following the 50th anniversary events, the organization largely lay dormant for many years. The legal status and existence of the incorporated entity remained intact, however, together with a modest treasury. Several members of the original chartering group ‒ Stewart Farnet, Bitsie Werlein Mouton, and Darryl Berger ‒ remained interested in re-energizing and repurposing this organization. Thus after many years of dormancy ‒ and stimulated in part by the post-Katrina challenges faced by the VCC ‒ this organization was redefined in 2007 as the Friends of the Vieux Carré Commission, with a revised charter and restructured board of directors.
In 2011, the newly revitalized organization hosted its first major fundraiser in honor of the VCC’s 75th anniversary. In 2012, the organization’s name was changed to the Vieux Carré Commission Foundation (“Foundation”) to more accurately reflect a broader mission and purpose.
The Vieux Carré Commission is the city agency that protects, preserves, and maintains the distinct architecture, historic character, and zoning integrity of the Vieux Carré Historic District. The staff of the VCC works assiduously to fulfill its mandate of the Louisiana State Constitution to protect the French Quarter’s tout ensemble, or the sum total effect of its architecture on its quaint and distinctive character and ambiance.
History of The VCC
In 1921, New Orleans was the first city in the United States to pass an ordinance creating a historic district. The VCC was created to preserve French Quarter buildings
“deemed to have architectural and historical value … for the benefit of the people of the City of New Orleans and the State of Louisiana” (Louisiana Constitution of 1921).
The VCC operating today is a state-enabled city agency that was formally established in 1936. The geographic jurisdiction of the Vieux Carré is roughly the same as the original 1718 French colony of Nouvelle-Orléans, which was one of America’s first planned cities. Within an area of ninety blocks, the Vieux Carré Historic District incorporates more than 2,000 properties and 3,000 buildings, 15 of which are considered of national architectural and historical significance and approximately 180 of which are deemed of “major architectural and historical significance.”
The Vieux Carré is not only a local historic district, but also a National Historic Landmark, and the commission charged with its protection is an internationally recognized preservation agency.
Board of Directors (2019-2021)
Kathryn Brennan McLeod, President
Mamie Sterkx Gasperecz, Vice President
Frederick R. Blount, Secretary Pro Tempore
Terry A. DuFrene, Treasurer
Sydney F. Anderson, Past President
Darryl Berger, Founding President
David A. Dalia, Founding Director
Lary Hesdorffer, Founding Director
Bryan D. Block, Ex-Officio
Bitsie Werlein Mouton, Founding Director Emeritus
Betty H. Norris, Founding Director Emeritus
S. Stewart Farnet, Founder 1986-2018
Melissa A. Gibbs
Susan H. Maclay
Kimberly W. Rosenberg
Kelly M. Starr
French Quarter Business Association
French Quarter Citizens
The Historic New Orleans Collection
Louisiana Landmarks Society
Louisiana Museum Foundation
Vieux Carré Property Owners, Residents, and Associates
Brook Tesler, Executive Director
P.O. Box 57444
New Orleans, LA 70157-7444