Do Not Migrate

This summer, NCPTT, the Tulane School of Architecture, the Preservation Trades Network, and Save Our Cemeteries hosted training on treatments for above ground cemeteries damaged during Hurricane Katrina. Topics included masonry applications, preservation technology, limewash, appropriate treatments for tombs, and a history of the cemeteries of New Orleans. This video was produced by Tulane University.


Hi, my name is Heather Knight. I teach in the Preservation Studies program at the School of Architecture at Tulane University. I’m directing the field school this summer here in Lafayette Cemetery Number 1.

We’re very lucky we’re working with a second generation master plasterer Tevis Vandergriff who is working one on one with our six field studies students this summer. They’re getting excellent hands-on training in plastering and will also be exposed to masonry work and limewashing.

We’re partnering with the Preservation Trades Network, a national non-profit organization dedicated to proliferating trades education in this country, which is a very critical part of the preservation movement in the United States and internationally.

I’m Rudy Christian. I’m the Executive Director of the Preservation Trades Network. PTN is what we call ourselves. The way that we got here to work in the cemeteries is that after Katrina we came down with the World Monuments Fund, one of our principal funders, and with the National Trust. We were looking at ways that we could work on projects to involve tradespeople in alternatives to demolition.

A lot of what happened after the storm caused so much destruction that people thought really what was needed was to just destroy – finish the job, take things down – and then replace it with new structures. Well, as people who are involved in preservation work, we realized the value of these historic structures. Even if they were damaged it was still important for us to consider how old they were and how well built they were so that if we put the money into fixing them instead of replacing them we were actually going to be ahead of the game as we would have buildings that would last longer than new buildings would.

Student learns plastering from Tevis Vandergriff, a second generation master plasterer.

Student learns plastering from Tevis Vandergriff, a second generation master plasterer.

We can take young people and we can teach them how to do this work. Those young people actually enjoy learning how to do it and once they have developed those skills, now we have the people we need to be able to take care of our historic architecture. So that’s what’s happening here today. We have college students who have been studying architecture, but they’ve never really had a chance to work with someone like Tevis, who’s a master plasterer, and pick up the tools, pick up the materials, and learn how to actually use them so that when they’re now back studying architecture in school they have a much better background with what they’re working with because they’ve done it.

Hi, my name is Lara Rosenbush, and I’m an incoming student at Tulane for the Masters of Preservation Studies program. Here they have all these different people that are teaching us all the different elements of preservation. There’s someone who was teaching us about history, materials, technology, about New Orleans. So yeah, it’s nice having a wide variety of people teaching us.

National Center for Preservation Technology and Training
645 University Parkway
Natchitoches, LA 71457

Email: ncptt[at]
Phone: (318) 356-7444
Fax: (318) 356-9119