'A Plea for Modernism': Groundbreaking 1950s school could become belated casuality of Katrina

May 26, 2011

We've wandered astray of Chicago today, but not without good reason. Check out this video by filmmaker and landscape architect Evan Mather on the possible fate of New Orleans' abandoned Phillis Wheatley School.

The building was part of a cluster of exceedingly modern mid-century schools built in the Crescent City. Now it hangs on for dear life and faces demolition.

Residents, the Tulane University School of Architecture and the Louisiana chapter of the international modernist architecture preservation group DoCoMoMo are rallying behind the school. Mather's smartly-done film has been making the rounds this week in online architecture circles. The narrator is the excellent actor Wendell Pierce, from the New Orleans-based show Treme and the still-missed HBO series The Wire

Well, there is a Chicago connection of sorts: Pierce, a Louisiana native who is also president of the Pontchartrain Park Community Development Corporation will be in Chicago on June 7 to participate in Future of the City: The Arts Symposium, sponsored by the University of Chicago.