New Orleans Archives after Katrina

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Posted by Chris Caravella on 18 SEP 2005 10:28:22

on September 18, 2005 at 10:28:22:

Good news from my pal, Sal Serio, president of the Cefalutana Society in NO and a neighbor of mine.

Courtesy of a blog (the new age!) I tracked down the following two quotes with great news on the archives at NOPL which will be enjoyed by those of you who spent hours in those records:
1. from:
SSA is Society of Southern Ar chivists
"Wayne Everard/Irene Wainwright
News from New Orleans Public Library. Wayne Everard and Irene Wainwright, along with another NOPL staffer, were able to get to the building yesterday. We are very pleased (and utterly astonished) to
report that the news is good. There was NO WATER in our basement archives, with the exception of a small puddle near the sump pumps that we believe may have been sewerage backup rather than flood water. The
archives and the first basement above it, were DRY. The library building itself suffered minor damage to one area -- our first floor computer lab -- where two windows blew in. The damage, however, appears to have been confined to that one room. There were also a few other leaks in the building, but, again, extremely minor, considerin g. We will send a fuller report (and we also have photographs of the area around the building, about 4 blocks from the Dome) soon. Thank everyone for their thoughts and concern. The NOPL system has taken a blow (about half of our branches are probably under water) but the fact that the Main
Library has come through relatively unscathed is good fortune beyond our wildest dreams, given the earl ier reports that we were receiving.
2005-09-09 09:19:42 "
2. from a blog quoting the Asst Archivist of NOPL:
"In an email to a librarian's newsgroup, NOLA Public Library archivist Irene Wainwright says: New Orleans Public Library is delighted to be able to announce that the New Orleans City Archives, which we hold, is
relatively safe. Although the majority of our records (as well as the 19th and early 20th century records of the Orleans Parish civil and criminal courts) are housed in the basement of the Main Library, some 18
feet below sea level, the basement remained essentially dry. Wayne Everard , our archvivist, and I were able to get access to the building yesterday, along with another NOPL staff member and a representative of Munters. We discovered that the base ment sustained NO FLOODING, although there is a very small amount of water in one area, possibly caused by sewer backup. This water caused no direct damage to records themselves. The Main Library itself (across the plaza from city hall, about 4 blocks from the Dome) came through almost unscathed. Several windows blew out in the area of our Technology Center causing quite a bit of damage there, bu t the damage is confined to that closed in room. There is also evidence of very minimal roof leakage on the first floor -- most of it missing the books.
On the whole, however, the Main Library is in excellent shape. Earlier reports that vandals had entered the building are incorrect. Our branch
run van was looted and we believe another van was stolen from the parking lot, but it is clear that no one got into the building, either to vandalize or to shelter there.
The NOPL system itself has been hit hard -- probably about half of our 11 branch libraries are under water. But these we can (and will) rebuild. The fact that the archives have survived leaves us almost
delerious with relief. We are working now to arrange for Munters to stabilize the Main Library building until we can all return and begin the rebuilding process.
We posted this news earlier to the ssacares site, where we will post additional information as it becomes available as well as photographs we
took of the Library and the surrounding area.
Thank you all for your expressions of concern and offers of assistance. We are unbelievably lucky, and I think I now believe in miracles....
Iren e Wainwright
Assistant Archivist, Louisiana Division / City Archives, New Orleans
Public Library"
3. Photos on the SSA website:

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