NEW ORLEANS — The U.S. Department of Interior awarded Dillard University a $750,000 grant to restore the historic academic building Howard House. The agency’s Assistant Secretary of Fish and Wildlife and Parks Shannon Estenoz presented the grant at an Aug. 4 press conference with Dr. Rochelle Ford, president of Dillard University.
The restoration grant is one of the first awarded by the U.S. Department of Interior, which protects cultural heritage under the National Historic Preservation Act.
“At the Interior Department, it is our job to help steward America’s story. By preserving sites like Dillard University, we not only honor long-underappreciated Historically Black Colleges and Universities, but we also safeguard important pieces of American history. These investments are part of the Biden-Harris administration’s work to ensure that vital cultural, educational, societal and aesthetic legacies will live on for future generations,” said Estenoz.
Originally named the Practice House, Howard House was designed by the campus architect Moise H. Goldstein and built in 1936. The Homemaking Educational Program used the historic two-story building during World War II when mostly young female students attended Dillard University.
“It’s fitting that the Howard House is receiving this historic grant from the U.S. Department of the Interior,” said Gov. John Bel Edwards. “I want to thank President Biden, Secretary Haaland and Assistant Secretary Estenoz for recognizing Dillard’s important place in the story of Louisiana and America.”
In 1945, a fire damaged much of the 2,400-square-foot building. Howard House was then restored and expanded to double its size, and it housed primarily young female faculty members at the time it reopened later that year.
Dr. Ford received the grant surrounded by community leaders and elected officials.
“Dillard’s architectural treasures are a link to our collective heritage,” stated Dr. Ford. “This grant marks a step towards Dillard serving as a communiversity with facilities that withstand the forecast that shapes our living, learning, serving community that cultivates leaders that will make our world healthier, safer and more innovative.”
“For nearly two centuries, HBCUs have stood as beacons of hope, providing education, empowerment, and opportunity to generations of African Americans around the country. The significance of the National Parks investment cannot be overstated. It is an investment in our past, our present, and most importantly, our future. These funds will breathe new life into the very buildings that have been the backdrop to the education of trailblazers, visionaries, and leaders who have shaped the course of our nation’s history,” said Congressman Troy A. Carter, Sr. (LA-02).
Dillard University Board of Trustees recognized individuals who had contributed to the founding and development of the University by naming several buildings in their honor. In 1948 the Practice House was renamed Howard House in honor of the late Alvin P. Howard, a New Orleans businessman who had served on the building committee for Flint-Goodridge Hospital, the original buildings of the University, and had served as the First Treasurer of the Board of Trustees.
For more information, please visit dillard.edu.