THE ICON: Mary Louise Christovich
THE LEGACY: New Orleans was in Mary Louise Christovich’s blood. It had been for a long time — 12 generations, to be exact. So it was only natural for her to become one of her generation’s most passionate preservationists. For decades, if something had to do with saving the historic character of New Orleans, she was probably somehow involved, whether as the longtime president of the Friends of Cabildo, the founder of Save our Cemeteries, a co-founder of the Preservation Resource Center or a member of myriad other groups. Arguably her most lasting legacy, however, was her six volumes in the series “New Orleans Architecture.” Published in the 1970s, it has been called a game-changer for the way it ignited a movement to preserve buildings beyond the French Quarter and Garden District — and for opening locals’ eyes to the rich but fragile beauty of the city they call home.
THE ARTIST: D. Lammie Hanson
THE INSPIRATION: “Without Mary Lou’s smart and energetic work over the past half-century, New Orleans would have suffered the loss of landmarks, neighborhoods and culture that we take for granted today. She led so many noble crusades that it’s hard to decide where to start thanking her.” — Jack Davis, then interim executive director of the PRC, upon the death of Mary Louise Christovich