Vieux Carre Commission Director Hesdorffer Retires After 35 Years Of Service To The City

NEW ORLEANS – Vieux Carré Commission (VCC) Director Lary Hesdorffer retired Friday, January 29, 2016, after 35 years of service to the City of New Orleans.

         The VCC is the nation’s second oldest historic preservation commission. It protects, preserves and maintains the distinct architectural, historic character and zoning integrity of the Vieux Carré including regulating repairs, construction and violations charges. As Director, Hesdorffer was responsible for administrative duties within the agency.

         “Lary Hesdorffer has been an unbelievable public servant to the people of New Orleans and great steward to our city’s crown jewel, the historic French Quarter,” Mayor Mitch Landrieu said. “Throughout his career with the City, Lary has been a consummate professional. His dedication to preserving the historic character of the Vieux Carré has been boundless and his presence around City Hall will be dearly missed by all.”

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         VCC Director Lary Hesdorffer said, “I did not anticipate working in Historic Preservation at all; so this has been a most unexpected career. Looking back now, I realize how much I have enjoyed the work and that I must have been well-suited to it. I feel honored to have headed each of the City’s historic preservation agencies. My hope is that the work of the VCC, particularly with the recent completion of the our updated Design Guidelines, will be understood better than ever before … making the protection of New Orleans’ oldest and most precious neighborhood a recognized necessity rather than what some may consider optional. The value of our city’s historic built environment can’t be underestimated and should never be taken for granted."

         Hesdorffer was first hired as a building inspector for VCC in 1975. He was promoted to staff architect and served as the VCC’s assistant director. He worked as staff architect for the Neighborhood Commercial Revitalization Unit following his first tenure with the VCC. He went to work for the New Orleans & Central Business District Historic District Landmarks Commissions (HDLC) in 1982 where he served as Deputy Director and later as Executive Director. In 1997, he became Senior Director of Properties for the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation in Atlanta.

         Hesdorffer was appointed VCC Director in 2003 and retained after Mayor Mitch Landrieu came into office in 2010.

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         Hesdorffer was instrumental in producing the Design Guidelines for the Vieux Carré Historic District, a process for which he is particularly proud. In August 2015, the Commission and New Orleans City Council adopted these new and revised Design Guidelines, setting forth procedures and city ordinances relating to the Vieux Carré historic district.

         Hesdorffer was a founding director of the VCC Foundation, the group supporting the VCC in meeting its regulatory responsibilities including financial commitments. He also serves on the boards of the French Quarter Management District and the Friends of the Cabildo. Hesdorffer earned a bachelor and master’s degrees at Tulane University School of Architecture.

         A search for a new VCC Director is ongoing. While the search is underway, VCC staff, with assistance from HDLC staff, will carry out Hesdorffer’s duties.

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