NEW ORLEANS, LA – Today, Mayor Mitch Landrieu, City officials, and FEMA opened the newly renovated Cita Dennis Hubbell Branch Library at 725 Pelican Avenue in the Algiers Point Historic District. This $1.3 million restoration fully refurbished the 106 year old building which has been closed since 2008.
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“As one of our oldest libraries, the Cita Hubbell branch has served generations of New Orleanians in Algiers Point,” Mayor Landrieu said. “Today, we reopen this important community library and return this vital asset to the Algiers’ community. Restoring this historic structure was important to the lasting heritage of New Orleans and Algiers and further commemorates its namesake, Cita Dennis Hubbell, for her efforts in keeping this library open.”
The Algiers Branch at 725 Pelican Avenue was originally built in 1907. It was one of five New Orleans libraries established with money from Andrew Carnegie. For almost sixty years, it served as the only public library on New Orleans’ west bank but was closed in 1966 due to deterioration and to make way for the new Algiers Regional Branch approximately four miles away. Neighborhood residents, led by Cita Dennis Hubbell, successfully lobbied the City of New Orleans to repair and reopen the branch in 1975 as the Algiers Point Branch, with a capacity of 20,000 books. After Mrs. Hubbell’s death, the City of New Orleans rededicated the library as the Cita Dennis Hubbell Branch in 2002. In 2005, the library survived Hurricane Katrina mostly intact but was closed to the public in 2008 due to moisture and termite damage to the roof.
City Librarian Charles Brown said, “The Library is delighted with the successful renovation of the Cita Dennis Hubbell Library. One of the two remaining libraries in the city made possible by the generosity of philanthropist Andrew Carnegie at the turn of the 20th century, the building has been beautifully updated and will once again serve as a centerpiece for the Algiers Point community. The Library is particularly appreciative of the dedication and efforts of the library’s friends, neighbors, and staff as well as FEMA and the City of New Orleans that combined to make this project possible.”
The newly renovated Cita Dennis Hubbell Branch Library is 2,730 square feet and will contain over 8,600 books, 600 DVDs and over 300 CDs. There are also eight public computers of which two are specifically reserved for children.
City Council President Jacquelyn Brechtel Clarkson said, “Hubbell Library is an Algiers Historic Treasure! This is the second time it has been brought back to life. First, by Cita Dennis Hubbell and now by our City. Thank you Friends of Hubbell Library, Mayor Landrieu and Councilmember Gisleson Palmer! I am very proud to have been a part of it as I remember being read a book there by my sister, Jeanne, when I was four years old!”
District C Councilmember Kristin Gisleson Palmer said, “I am thrilled that the newly renovated Hubbell Library is open to the public. As one of the oldest public library facilities in New Orleans, it has served as an important community resource for decades. I applaud the Administration, the New Orleans Public Library and especially neighborhood leaders for their dedication to this project. It will now be available for all of our children to enjoy for generations to come.”
Renovations to the Cita Dennis Hubbell Library include a new roof, lighting, fixtures, storefront entry vestibule, HVAC system, flooring, windows, fire alarm system and electrical code upgrades. The library’s historic features like its masonry walls and iron gate were also fully restored. Total funding for this project is approximately $1.3 million, coming from City bond funds and FEMA public assistance. It was designed by Concordia Architects and constructed by Crescent Commercial Construction. Perle Construction served as DBE on this project.
Deputy Mayor of Facilities, Infrastructure and Community Development Cedric Grant said, “For over a century, this library has stood as an important gathering place for the residents of Algiers Point. This newly renovated library is a testament to the City’s commitment to building it back better than before.”
Eddie Williams, FEMA Public Assistance Officer said, “I am pleased to join the city of New Orleans in cutting the ribbon at the historic Cita Hubbell Library. The restoration of this facility reestablishes a cornerstone of the Algiers neighborhood and represents another great outcome of the collaborative efforts with our state and local recovery partners.”