Nashville Sites with Jessica Reeves

This week I interview preservationist and public historian Jessica Reeves. Jessica works as a Preservationist 1 for the Nashville Metropolitan Historical Commission. The MHC is currently developing a website called “Nashville Sites” which will be an interactive website of free scholarly self-guided tours of Nashville.

Jessica has a degree in Mass Communication with a concentration in Public Relations and a Master in History with an emphasis in Public History; both from Middle Tennessee State University. During her graduate studies Jessica completed an internship at Chief Plenty Coups State Park in Pryor Montana. She wrote her thesis on the cultural landscape of the state park. She also worked as a graduate research assistant at MTSU and helped research the trail of tears route through Tennessee.

Currently Jessica works for the Metro Historical Commission in Nashville. The MHC is responsible for preservation programming and research, Section 106 reviews, historical markers and local preservation awards. Currently she and her team are working on the Nashville Sites project which will be a “mobile friendly website that allows people to do free scholarly self-guided tours of downtown Nashville.” The program started as an extension of the marker program and was first proposed by Dr. Mary Ellen Pethel. Dr. Pethel is the head of the History Department at Harpeth Hall and is on the board of the MHC Foundation which is a non-profit that assists the Metro Historical Commission.

The Nashville Sites website will contain tours related to the following topics: women’s history, architecture, religion, and music. The website will launch in October with an estimated 22 tours available, with more to be added in the near future. Users will be able to scan a QR code located on historical markers or buildings and get recorded information on the topic. Jessica’s current role for the project is Director of Tours.

Email Jessica at

Nashville Sites Facebook Page

Nashville Sites Instagram


Historic Real Estate with Peter Patout

“Architecture is Art” - Peter Patout

This week I interview historic property specialist and luxury real estate agent Peter Patout. Peter combines a lifetime of knowledge about antiques, art and architecture into his services. In this episode Peter and I discuss the processes of buying and selling historic properties.

Peter has a business degree from the University of Louisiana in Lafayette and studied Louisiana architectural history at Tulane University. He currently works and resides in the French Quarter as a long-term property owner. In addition to the home he lives in, his property also contains a creole maisonette, which he believes is the only surviving one in the French Quarter. Many people often believe the structure is a servant’s quarters, however it was the original structure on the property before a double was built in front of it.

Currently Peter is facilitating the sale of two 18th century French Creole properties, Maison Chenal and Lacour House, along with their historic dependencies on 75 acres of land in Pointe Coupee Parish. Also included in the sale is The Holden Collection which is the “world’s premier collection of Louisiana French Creole and Acadian architecture, art, decorative arts, and furniture comprising 1400 items that were made in or used in Louisiana from the early 1700s-1800s.” There will be a house and garden tour of the two homes on Saturday September 14, 2019.

Peter can be contacted via his website and by phone at 504-481-4790.

Creole Houses book


Digging Deeper with Nina Scall, Director of Programs for the TN Wars Commission

“I kind of see archaeology and historic preservation as intertwined, interrelated fields.” – Nina Scall

This week I interview Nina Scall, the Director of Programs for the Tennessee Wars Commission. Nina began her career in history as an archaeologist and transitioned into historic preservation. In this episode we talk about the connections between the two fields and how Nina brings her experience to the TN Wars Commission.

Nina has a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from University of Maryland and a Master of Arts in Historic Preservation from Savannah College of Art and Design. Nina’s archaeology experience includes field schools in Italy and Virginia and work as a field technician in New York. While completing her master’s degree she worked in cultural resource management for Preservation Long Island. Nina doesn’t believe that she stepped out of archaeology and into preservation as she sees the two fields as interrelated. “I feel that these two disciplines are two puzzle pieces from the same puzzle and when you put them together a more complete picture of history and the cultural environment emerges.”

Currently Nina works as the Director of Programs for the Tennessee Wars Commission. The Wars Commission was created by an act of legislation in 1994 and remains a unique program in the United States. The goal of the commission is to preserve “Tennessee’s military heritage by coordinating the planning, preservation, and promotion of structures, sites, and battlefields in Tennessee; and by acquiring or providing funds for the acquisition of battlegrounds, cemeteries, and other historic properties associated with the French and Indian War, the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War, and the Civil War. This mission is realized through the management of two grant funds; grant writing, by awarding funds to qualified applicants, and via the completion of grant contracts.”

Nina’s office is located in the Clover Bottom Mansion in Nashville, TN. She can be reached by phone at 615-770-1095 or via her email,

The TN Historical Commission

James Madison’s Montpelier


The Road to Preservation with Katie Totman

This week I interview Historic Preservation Specialist Katie Totman. Katie works for the Office of Historic Preservation in the city of San Antonio. For Katie, the road to preservation took several twists. Eventually, over the course of several jobs and internships, Katie discovered her love of hands-on preservation and her passion for teaching others.

Katie holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from Sam Houston State University and a Master of Arts from Sotheby’s Institute of Art in New York. She also obtained a Graduate Certificate in Historic Preservation from the University of Texas at San Antonio. As in intern at the Lyndhurst Mansion she helped restore a 19th century bowling alley.

Katie is also on the New Braunfels Historic Landmarks Commission and is the co-director of the Texas chapter of the Association for Preservation Technology. In her spare time, she is restoring her own small historic home in New Braunfels including repairing all the original wooden windows.

Katie’s Instagram

katie picture.PNG

Preserving Modern Residential Architecture with Anna Marcum: Part Two

“Homes are where we spend such a great deal of our lives. We should acknowledge that kind of architecture as being just as significant…”

This week’s episode is part two of my two-part series with guest Anna Marcum; we continue our discussion on the importance of preserving modern residential architecture. Anna has spent a great deal of time researching cultural bias in architecture as it relates to women and people of color. In this episode we discuss her research, her work for the city of Hammond Louisiana, and her exciting new position at the AIA Center for Architecture in New York.

We also delve into the issue of presenting difficult history and how the United States differs from European countries in the way it deals with its ugly history. The example Anna uses is Canal St in New Orleans. Canal St was not only the site of the Battle of Liberty Place during the Reconstruction Era but it was also a corridor for social change during the Civil Rights movement. She believes that we must acknowledge the bad things that happened in our history by leaning into the discomfort; only in this way can we tell the whole story. She would like to see preservation use contemporary artists and art to bring light to the history of a place.

Included in her research is female architect Eleanor Raymond and African American architect Paul Williams. Eleanor Raymond was a practicing architect in Massachusetts who designed one of the first International style homes in the United States and the first home to use solar technology. She was also well known for her adaptive reuse projects in modern homes. Paul Williams was a Los Angeles based architect who designed many famous buildings along with Carver Manor; a neighborhood of affordable housing for veterans of color. He was posthumously awarded the AIA gold metal.

Preserving Modern Residential Architecture with Anna Marcum: Part One

This week’s episode is part one of my two-part series with guest Anna Marcum. Anna is an architectural historian and preservationist with an art history background. In this episode Anna and I discuss her graduate research regarding infusing contemporary art with historic places to encourage the upkeep of the space. Additionally, Anna advocates for the preservation of modern residential structures through both her work in California and at Historic New England.

Anna holds a Bachelor of Arts in Art History from Barnard College of Columbia University and a Master of Preservation Studies from Tulane University. During her time at Tulane she was among the first group of students awarded the Ann and Frank Masson Graduate Research Fellowship. The purpose of the fellowship is to compare an architectural tradition of Europe to an architectural tradition in the United States. Anna used the fellowship to travel and study stained glass in artist designed religious spaces. She compared artist designed chapels in the south of France such as the Matisse Chapel and Jean Cocteau’s Chapelle Saint-Pierre and chapels in the United States such as the James Turrell Skyspace and Ellsworth Kelly’s Austin in Texas. She found that infusing contemporary and/or fine art into historic buildings activates them, makes them more adept to site interpretations and incentivizes regular maintenance of the buildings.

As an intern with Historic New England and through her work in California, Anna came to advocate for the preservation of modern residential structures in correlation to the “green” housing movement. Modern residential architecture is the greatest percentage of housing stock in the United States and Anna believes that the greenest house is the one already built. She advocates for more lax preservation guidelines on everyday modern structures to incentivize maintenance and upkeep as opposed to demolition and new construction. New construction materials create pollution and being green isn’t just measured by utility bills. Anna encourages people to lean into the strengths of their historic structures rather than trying to make it something it’s not.

Tune back in in two weeks for the second half of Anna’s episode.

Anna’s Website

Anna’s Instagram


Regulatory Compliance in Historic Districts with Erika Gates

“It’s connections. It’s putting people together to make things happen.” - Erika Gates

This week I interview historic preservation consultant Erika Gates of Gates Preservation. Erika specializes in regulatory compliance and permitting in historic districts. In this episode we discuss her previous work as a building inspector and how the permitting and regulation process works in historic districts, specifically the French Quarter.

Erika holds a Bachelor of Architecture from Drury University and a Master of Preservation Studies from Tulane University. She is also a licensed tour guide with the city of New Orleans. Erika got her feet wet in the preservation field as a graduate student when she was asked to help research and submit applications for historic tax credits. This allowed her to really familiarize herself with doing preservation work in New Orleans and gave her a leg up in her future work in the compliance field.

After graduate school Erika worked as a building inspector for the Vieux Carre Commission, which is the regulatory body in the French Quarter neighborhood of New Orleans. The VCC oversees all changes made to the buildings in the French Quarter; their area of oversight is basically all parts of a building “that touch the air.” Erika was able to take the knowledge gained in this role and use it to start her own consulting business.

Currently Erika owns her own consulting firm, Gates Preservation. In this role she helps clients with permitting, project management, advocacy and general preservation work including research. She even helps building owners with maintenance consultations, contractor bids and construction oversight. This work requires her to maintain a good relationship with the VCC, the Historic District Landmarks Commission (HDLC) and city hall. In what little spare time she has, she also gives architectural tours and collects vintage items.

Get in touch with Erika:

Instagram: @erika_k_gates


Episode 17: Cultural Placemaking with Cynthia Ammerman

“I think we have to move away from planning from the ideal. The idea of placemaking triggers more with myself because placemaking is active.” — Cynthia Ammerman

This week, I talk to Cynthia Ammerman, the principal, historian and preservation strategist at Polis: Cultural Planning.

Cynthia began as a history major at University of Missouri- Kansas City, then took a break from academia to work in real estate for seven years. Her experience as a real estate broker helped her establish an interest in urban studies courses and neighborhood policies. When returning to UMKC to finish her education, Cynthia carved her own path through specific courses and independent study to receive a specialized master’s degree. She laid the framework for something that is now offered at UMKC: a Historic Preservation Certificate.

Cynthia has worked as a Program Development Officer, and Architectural Historian and as an Executive Director of a historical society. All of these positions provided her with valuable experience that she has translated into her job as a consultant.

Nowadays, Cynthia works as principal, historian and preservation strategist at her consulting firm, Polis: Cultural Planning. She places emphasis on active placemaking, rather than traditional planning, and involving people in the heritage of a place. She is also the Executive Director and co-founder of the Kansas City Latin Jazz Orchestra and is heavily involved with preserving the musical history of Kansas City.

Cynthia drives to move the future away from more traditional planning and into harmonious “Polis" planning, which is a Greek word that refers to a sacred place that cannot exist without its people. 

Current projects: Cynthia is getting ready to launch her book: Salsa in the Midwest. She has also been documenting social housing blocks in Chile and working on a National Register Nomination for an armory building in Kansas City.


Get in touch with Cynthia:

Instagram: @PolisCulturalPlanning


Episode 16: Design and Preservation with Megan Lord

“The idea of home is very important to me. It’s really how I view preservation, is through residences and houses.” — Megan Lord

This week, I interview Megan Lord, a preservationist and designer from Alexandria, LA, that helped rebuild and restore historic New Orleans after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Megan’s journey with preservation began with years of education at The Savannah College of Art and Design, where she earned her MA in Architectural History and MFA in Preservation. Her experience included studying architectural history in Lacoste, France, where she used hands-on work to shape what would eventually be her career restoring the uniquely French-inspired architecture of New Orleans.

Megan’s passion really shines when she speaks of helping the people of New Orleans recover from the disaster of Katrina by providing a comforting ear to their stories. Through her work with the Historic Building and Recovery Program, she connected families with grants to rebuild their homes, some of which who have been displaced for as long as a decade.

After her work in New Orleans, Megan returned to Alexandria, where she discusses her struggle, where the citizens aren’t quite as experienced with preservation as some other historic districts. Megan found a unique way to combine both preservation and design, to bring modern life into her clients’ homes while maintaining their historical integrity.

“We need to be intentionally planning both new growth and new development, but we also need to be taking care of our historic neighborhoods and historic cities and cores. Both are needed for a healthy city and a healthy building environment.” — Megan Lord

In 2017, Megan was named one of Alexandria’s 20 Under 40 for her work in preservation and as an entrepreneurNowadays, she works as a preservationist and home design consultant with her business Hunt and Gather Home, LLC, where she uses her natural talent for color and style to bring new life into the restored homes of her clients. Her shop Southern Chic, features vintage pieces that Megan finds herself the southern United States made from local and regional artists. 

Get in touch with Megan:

Instagram: huntandgatherhome

Facebook: huntandgatherhome

Southern Chic:

Episode 15: Historic Preservation Planning with Russell Archer

In this week’s episode I interview Russell Archer, the Historic Preservation Planner for the city of Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Working closely with the Historic Conservation Commission, Russell helps manage the city’s five local historic districts. Russell is an advocate against demolitions and believes strongly in saving as many buildings as possible. He also works closely with the Mississippi Heritage Trust who provide support for preservation projects throughout the state. In a previous position at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Russell worked on the Mississippi Landmark Program listing publicly owned buildings as landmarks.

Episode 14: Advocacy and Planning in Historic Cities with Erin Holmes

In this week’s episode I interview Erin Holmes, the Executive Director of the Vieux Carre Property Owners, Residents and Associates. Through her role as the Executive Director of the VCPORA and as the previous Advocacy Coordinator for the Preservation Resource Center, Erin fights for the historic integrity of New Orleans; her passion for advocacy shows in her commitment to making the city a better place for both tourists and locals. Erin and I discuss the work the VCPORA does to “maintain the French Quarter as a living, breathing neighborhood in addition to being a major economic driver in the city and state.” On a daily basis the VCPORA contends with issues such as short term rentals and sustainable tourism management.

The VCPORA has accomplished many deeds in it’s 85 year history including saving the Upper Pontalba Building, stopping the construction of the Riverfront Expressway, and helping create the Vieux Carre Commission. They work primarily as an advocacy and neighborhood organization in the French Quarter. The French Quarter is a National Historic Landmark, one of only 2,500 in the country.

Learn more about the Claiborne Overpass or the Riverfront Expressway

More information about short term rentals in New Orleans

Episode 13: Heritage Resource Consulting with Sarah Marsom

In this week’s episode I interview Heritage Resource Consultant Sarah Marsom. Sarah’s works focuses on connecting people to the built environment and promoting preservation to younger generations. Through groups such as the Young Ohio Preservationists and the Rustbelt Coalition of Young Preservationists Sarah brings together young and emerging preservation professionals for events to promote having fun with preservation. Sarah also created the Tiny Activist Project to share the stories of lesser known minority populations “who fought to save cultural resources.” In 2018 the National Trust selected Sarah as one of the 40 Under 40: People Saving Places and awarded her the American Express Aspire Award for her work in preservation. In addition to all her work as a consultant, Sarah was instrumental in the writing process for the third edition of Historic Preservation: An Introduction to it’s History, Principles, and Practice.

Sarah will be the keynote speaker at this year’s Modern Phoenix Week to speak about engaging a new general in preservation and heritage of the built environment. Previously Sarah has spoken at other conferences such as the National Main Street Conference and the Indiana Landmarks Preserving Historic Places Conference.

You can get in touch with Sarah via her website and follow her on Instagram.

Click here for the Tiny Activist Project Instagram

Click here for the Young Ohio Preservationists Instagram

Episode 12: Curating a Historic House Museum with James Wade

In this week’s episode I interview James Wade, curator and architectural historian at Longwood House in Natchez, MS. James talks extensively about the fascinating history of the home which was originally designed by Samuel Sloan for Haller and Julia Nutt. Construction on the house was stopped because of the start of the Civil War and due to the home’s partial completion it faces unique issues when it comes to conservation. In addition to his work as a curator at Longwood, James is currently writing a book about the house. James has written one previous book, The Pitot House: A Landmark on Bayou St. John. At the beginning of 2019 the Historic Natchez Foundation awarded James the George and Ethel Kelly Preservation Award for his work to restore his personal home, the Casey Mallory Townhouse in historic Natchez.

Episode 11: A Conversation with Danielle Del Sol, Executive Director of the Preservation Resource Center

In this week’s episode I interview Danielle Del Sol, the Executive Director of the Preservation Resource Center in New Orleans. We talk about her beginnings with the PRC as an intern writing for Preservation in Print through her being named the Executive Director in 2018. Danielle’s roll oversees programs such as Operation Comeback, Rebuilding Together, and Preservation in Print. Danielle also teaches an advocacy course in the Master of Preservation Studies program at Tulane and helps students pursue internship opportunities. In 2018 she was named one of the National Trust’s 40 Under 40: People Saving Places.

The Preservation Resource Center is a non-profit organization in New Orleans that “promotes the preservation, restoration, and revitalization of New Orleans’ historic architecture and neighborhoods.” In addition to the programs listed above, the PRC also maintains a historic easement program for 120 properties, provides training classes, hosts events, and helps with National Register Nominations. Currently the PRC is working with the homeowners in Pontchartrain Park to survey over 800 structures for a National Register nomination. They are also working on project funded by a National Trust Innovation Grant that helps low income property owners make home repairs that meet historic district guidelines. The PRC will be working closely with the Historic District Landmarks Commission to help mitigate homeowner’s fines.

Episode 10: Historic Tax Credits and GIS Mapping with Ashley Gaudlip

In this week’s episode I interview preservationist Ashley Gaudlip about her dual roles as an adjunct professor of GIS mapping and as a tax credit reviewer in the state division for historic preservation (or SHPO) in Louisiana. Ashley goes into detail about Geographic Information Systems (GIS); how they can be used in preservation and how she teaches the course to the students at Tulane. She also discusses the process the SHPO uses to help people qualify for state and national historic tax credits including breaking down the location and submission requirements and how her office reviews the information. Ashley has had a passion for preservation since she was fourteen years old!

You can reach Ashley via email at or or you can call her office at 225-342-7600.

Below are the links to some of the things we discuss in this episode:


USGS Base Maps

UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Cultural Product Districts

419 Carondelet St

Charity Hospital

Frist Art Museum

Episode 9: Revitalizing Historic Schools with James Rolf

In this week’s episode I interview James Rolf, the Director of Planning and Preservation with the Recovery School District in New Orleans. In this position James works to revitalize historic school buildings by increasing and managing historic tax credits, creating preservation briefs for contractors and consulting with architects on major renovation projects. He also serves as a community liaison to inform the public about the programs and objectives of the RSD. In addition to historic tax credits, James also works with the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund which provides financial incentives to revitalize low income communities and he works with new market tax credits when consulting on new construction.

In addition to his work with the RSD, James also completed the restoration of his family’s ancestral home and owns his own preservation company, Rolf Restoration Works, LLC. Rolf Restoration Works is currently working on a project for St. Joseph’s Church and School in Gretna, LA.

For more information on the Association for Preservation Technologies International click here.

Episode 8: Using Digital Archiving to Create a Virtual Library of a Historic District

In this week’s episode I interview Brook Tesler of Tesler Preservation Consulting. Brook talks about creating an online virtual library of a historic collection of over 40,000 images of the French Quarter in New Orleans. The project also includes a website created using GIS mapping that contains images, vital building information and a glossary of terms. The episode contains information on how Brook scanned the 40,000 slides using a high end digital camera attached to a slide carousel and hand entered any details written on the slides. She then used GIS mapping to create an accurate, scale image of all the buildings in the French Quarter and loaded that into a website. In the virtual library you can click on specific buildings and see all the related images and relevant architectural information. The entire project was the brain child of the Vieux Carre Commission Foundation in conjunction with the City of New Orleans.

The website is available here

To read more about the project check out the Advocate article

Brook used Slidesnap to scan the slides and ArcGIS to help build the map of the French Quarter

To learn more about the building that collapsed in the French Quarter check out another Advocate article

Episode 7: Introduction to Materials Conservation with Michelle Duhon

In this week’s episode I interview Michelle Duhon, owner and operator of Bayou Preservation and Southkick LLC. Michelle talks about her work as a technical conservator on projects such as tomb restorations, public art projects and stone repairs. We discuss the use of plaster as a common historic building material and also the types of stones she works with often. She reviews her best practices for creating project bids and working with clients for conservation projects.

For more information about materials conservation check out the Association for Preservation Technology and the American Institute for Conservation.

Michelle’s recommended locations for purchasing plaster materials: Limeworks US and Masonry Products

Episode 6: Preservation and Social Media with Jennifer Graves Hance

In this week’s episode I interview Jennifer Graves Hance, the face behind the popular Instagram account the.preservationist. Jennifer talks about the process she uses to curate her Instagram and how preservationists and preservation organizations can use social media to share information. We also discuss other apps such as The Historic Charleston Foundation’s app that functions like a pocket guide and map to historic sites in Charleston and their two historic house museums. In New Orleans, Tulane University and the University of New Orleans have collaborated to create a similar app called New Orleans Historical, which connects stories of history with locations in the city (place based story telling).

Episode 5: Preservation In Action with Leah Solomon

In this week’s episode I talk with preservationist Leah Solomon. Leah has worked with a variety of preservation organizations including government agencies, non-profits and private companies. We discuss the different ways preservation is used at the organizational level on programs such as Main Street America, Historicorps and local historic districts. Leah currently works for the Preservation Resource Center in New Orleans Louisiana. Visit our resources page for information on the PRC.

For more information about Crosstown Concourse you can visit their website here and the National Trust website has more information on the Driehaus Award awarded to Crosstown Concourse in 2018.

Click here for information on the city of Hammond Historic District.

Click here for information on the city of Madison India.