NEW ORLEANS — The family home of civil rights activist Oretha Castle Haley in New Orleans has been added to the National Register of Historic Places. The Treme neighborhood Craftsman-style home, known as the “Castle Family Home,” served as a pivotal location for the civil rights movement in Louisiana during the 1960s.
Oretha Castle Haley actively participated in protests, demonstrations, and sit-ins advocating for racial equality. She was known for challenging segregation in New Orleans and promoting Black voter registration in Louisiana. Following her passing in 1987, Dryades Street, where many civil rights demonstrations took place, was renamed Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard in her honor.
The home, painted bright green with blue trim, was used as headquarters for the New Orleans chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality. It served as a meeting place and organizational center for planning sit-ins and boycotts against segregated businesses. Furthermore, it acted as a safe house for participants in the 1961 Freedom Rides.
Robin S. Smith, a graduate student studying historic preservation at Tulane University’s School of Architecture, led the historic designation process. Smith emphasized the importance of preserving the history of the house and ensuring its recognition for its role in the civil rights era.
The nomination for the National Register was approved due to the house’s historical significance, architectural integrity, and potential to provide valuable historical information. Properties listed in the National Register are considered worthy of preservation for their exceptional historic value and are eligible for government preservation grants and tax incentives.
Smith emphasized that the national recognition raises awareness of the house’s historical significance and ensures its preservation for future generations. She described the nomination process as a labor of love and a privilege.
PHOTOS: New Orleans civil rights activist’s family home listed on National Register of Historic Places
Smith’s efforts highlight the importance of recognizing and preserving historical sites like the Castle Family Home. This designation ensures their place in history and aids in maintaining their legacy for years to come.
For Smith, the recognition of the historical significance of the house was a privilege, and she was proud to be entrusted with its story. She expressed her desire for the importance of the house and its role in history to be shared and recognized.