Felicity Church Renovation
In 2010 The Louisiana Landmarks Society named this 1888 Gothic Revival two-story Felicity United Methodist Church as one of the “Nine most Endangered Buildings in New Orleans”. The first church on this site, the Steele Chapel, built in 1850, designed by architect Thomas K. Wharton, burned in 1887. The congregation enlisted the architects William C. Williams and Samuel Patton to design the current Gothic Revival building, which included electric lighting and heat. The church was described at its dedication in 1888 as “one of the finest edifices in the city” in the Daily Picayune.
The building suffered years of deferred maintenance, significant roof damage in Hurricane Katrina, and subsequent years of exposure until it was sold in 2011. A new roof, brick repointing, gutting the interior, and structural shoring of the building were accomplished during 2011-2015. In 2015, utilizing Federal and State Historic Preservation Tax Credits, the building was renovated into a flexible venue for a variety of functions, with the focus primarily on hosting wedding ceremonies and receptions.
Design objectives were to expose and highlight the structure of the building and its distinctive spaces and features, and to utilize new construction for support programming within the building and to conceal all new building systems including electrical, mechanical, plumbing, life safety, and an elevator. To the greatest extent possible existing materials were restored or re-purposed; where not possible, wood, brick, doors, and light fixtures salvaged from other properties was utilized.