May 9, 2012 2:24 PM by Press Release
The Opelousas Historic District Commission has announced Hope for Opelousas as this year's Historic District Preservation Award recipient. The award, which is selected by the Opelousas Historic District Commission, which serves under the City of Opelousas Mayor and Council, is given annually to honor beautification and restoration efforts for homes and buildings located in the Historic District.
In the summer of 2008, Hope for Opelousas purchased a nearly 100 year old bungalow and craftsman style house located at 330 East Madison in an area known as 'The Hill.' The property, which included a home with an adjacent garage building, was purchased for office and tutoring space. Opelousas resident Marie Dupre' drew up the renovation plans, which were divided into two phases. For the first six months renovations included installing a new roof, central air and heating, updating the kitchen, and refinishing the floors. In March of 2009, two mission teams arrived--from BryanCollege in Tennessee and NorthwesternCollege in Iowa to assist with secondary renovation projects. This work entailed installing a basketball court, closing in the garage area, repairing water drainage on property, and completing all exterior painting. This property has allowed Hope for Opelousas to serve over sixty students over the last four years.
In December of 2011, Hope for Opelousas purchased a home directly next door at 324 East Madison. The goal in purchasing a second property is to expand the serving capacity of students for after-school programs. The heartbeat of Hope for Opelousas is community development. "Our investment in the preservation of these homes is a visual representation of the Hope we have for Opelousas," said Loren Carriere, Director of Hope for Opelousas. "We want to make a lasting impact on our community and inspire our neighbors to do the same. This goal relies on investing in the community, and not removing ourselves from it. We are so blessed to partner with caring neighbors and families to serve this city," added Carriere.
In 2001, the Opelousas City Council adopted the Historic District ordinance for the City. The district offers sites of 19th and early 20th century architecture. Some of the styles include antebellum, Victorian, Greek Revival, Neo Classical, Federal, and turn-of-the-century homes and buildings.
The City of Opelousas is the third oldest city in Louisiana. As far back as 1690, French traders carried on trade with the Opelousas Indians. In 1720, the French territory le Post des Opelousas was established. This establishment would bring a wave of nationalities to the area. In 1806, Opelousas was named the parish seat and the first courthouse was built on a square in the middle of town. In 1807, Louisiana was divided into nineteen parishes and the original OpelousasCounty became Imperial-St. Landry Parish. Incorporated as a town in 1821, Opelousas went on to serve as the state capital during the Civil War in 1862 when Baton Rouge fell under Union control.