This is beautifully said. This editorial was written with both sides of the facts appreciated.
The 19th century house that was cut apart, loaded onto a trailer and carried out of the city of Alexandria to farmland south of town is a slow-moving metaphor. It says a lot about where the city once was and where it is.
A little over two weeks ago tree crews removed a stand of tall trees and thick shrubs that blocked the view of the house from commuters on Monroe Street.
House movers then lifted the gables from the roof and, seemingly overnight, cut the Queen Anne-style house into pieces — porch and all — and loaded them onto flatbed trailers for the ride to their new home not far from Louisiana State University at Alexandria.
By Tuesday, the lot at 2401 Monroe St. still had a garage-apartment on it and part of the main house, but the site looked more vacant than it has since the house was built in 1898.
It’s a big change in a neighborhood that has seen a sea change.
Once, Monroe Street was far friendlier than it is today. Though still primarily a residential area from Texas Avenue to Bolton Avenue, Monroe Street is home to more than modest people in modest homes. Crime lives here, too, mostly in the form of drugs, prostitution and domestic violence.
It wasn’t always that way.
If you’re memory is long, you recall a very different Monroe Street. Some of it is still there. You can see it, if you look closely.
Big wooden houses with wraparound porches, high arched windows and ornamental wrought iron dot the street and the neighborhood. Some are well-maintained, defying the decay that is right next door. Others have fallen into disarray, but their “bones” are still good.
The good news for the house that has been moved is that it will be reborn on a lush piece of farmland, and it will look as if it has been there since day one. It will fit nicely with the surrounding properties, including Inglewood Plantation, the Hard Times house, Schoolhouse Cottage, Matt’s Cabin and the recently moved and remodeled Bennett House, now a residence, and Bennettville Store, now an artist’s studio. Hope thrives here and in the fields along the Old Baton Rouge Highway.
That’s in stark contrast to the urban neighborhood known as Monroe Street. It, too, has a rich and storied history, but it is a little short of hope these days.”