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Jennings, Early May 2019

I’m really worried about Jennings. I have visited a couple times over the years (yes, I understand that a couple of visits is not good enough to get a complete understanding of a community), and every time I go back, there are more and more abandoned houses. I can’t imagine losing the tax revenue of River Roads Mall helped. Northland Plaza was reborn, but I’m not sure how well that development is providing for the city’s expenses.

By any metric, that is not a good thing. At least not any that I can think of. What is happening up this way to cause this? I do not know; as I said above, I do not have my “finger on the pulse” of Jennings to know what is causing noticeable decline in the streets around Corpus Christi.

I do know this. While I do like a good wood frame house, in the Arts and Crafts style like many of the abandoned homes I’m seeing, they are not going to stand up to longterm neglect. Down in the City, I know of buildings that have sat abandoned for forty years (northwest corner of Magnolia and California, for example), and they have been renovated back to their former beauty. These houses are not going to last that long.

And what do we always here about the rehabbers who saved Lafayette Square? They were all inspired by the amazing architecture of the Second Empire beauties that were well built and still had “good bones” that could be brought back to life.

Look at these piece of junk apartment buildings; the ones above show obvious 1990s “rehabbing” which clearly did not stave off their eventual abandonment. I saw tons of abandoned, crumby and unremarkable complexes like these. Who wants to save crumby 1950s apartments?

The ones below do actually have some panache, and they are well maintained–for now.

And some streets still look good, with the majority of their houses in good condition.

There are also some interesting remnants of what were probably some great examples of Queen Anne houses built out in the countryside originally.

But they’re being abandoned now, too.

Jennings needs some good ideas, and it needs them fast.

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