After assisting the Vieux Carre Commission with numerous small projects, the Foundation is pleased to be funding its first major effort consistent with its taking a larger role in support of the VCC. Having identified a critical issue that needs to be addressed but would likely never receive City funding, the Foundation has contracted for a major, comprehensive lighting study for the entire French Quarter aimed at bringing VCC exterior lighting guidelines into the 21st Century.
Lary P. Hesdorffer, Director of the VCC, said the willingness of the Foundation to spearhead this urgently needed project “is just ideal” in the face of crucial issues of security, pedestrian safety and aesthetics in the neighborhood visited by more than 8 million people per year. Old guidelines have become obsolete as new technology in design, control and gradations of illumination become commonplace, he said.
Historically, the Vieux Carre was a very dark place. Recent and rather anarchic additions of spot lights, colored lights, neon, up-lighting of buildings, and bright, cold halogen lights have created an inconsistent and often inappropriate appearance. The new lighting study will experiment to discover “appropriate levels of illumination for even lighting of the public right-of-way that avoids both pitch black and lights that look radioactive they are so bright,” Mr. Hesdorffer said.
After reviewing proposals from seven expert contractors, the distinguished New York lighting firm of Tillotson Design Associates has been selected for the project. Its expertise in exterior building illumination and restoration and renovation projects makes it an excellent fit. It has won numerous awards for its projects at universities, parks and public spaces including the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York. Suzan Tillotson is the 2012 recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award at Louisiana State University’s College of Art and Design.
Results of the study, made possible by the many generous donations to the VCC Foundation, are expected in about 90 days.