Pictured Above left to right: Previous Harnett Kane Winners - David Campbell, Bill Borah, Michael Duplantier, Nathan Chapman, Bill and Sally Reeves, John Geiser, and James Logan
Established by Harnett Kane (1910-1994), Louisiana Landmarks Society's founding member and President, this prestigious award salutes those who have demonstrated lifetime contributions to preservation.
Congratulations to our 2017 Award Recipient:
The Louisiana Landmarks Society awards its highest honor, the 2017 Harnett T. Kane Award, to Nathan Chapman. The award—created and endowed by Louisiana Landmarks Society’s founding member Harnett T. Kane in 1965—recognizes an individual or organization for significant lifetime contributions to historic preservation.
A passionate New Orleans preservationist and business leader, Nathan Chapman has made the revitalization of the city of New Orleans his life and business’ mission. A marketer by profession, Chapman first moved to New Orleans in 1984 and became a resident of the Vieux Carré in 1985. He embarked on his first work for historic preservation as the chair of the Vieux Carré Property Owners, Residents and Associates’ (VCPORA) Riverfront Committee to combat a string of tourist attractions encroaching on the French Quarter. Using his marketing expertise to advance his passion, Chapman was able to successfully communicate that the Vieux Carré’s value as a precious historic neighborhood was much more than a tourist destination, effectively reversing the proposed development. When the city’s historic riverfront was being threatened once again, he organized the Riverfront Alliance, a coalition of downriver riverfront neighborhoods, which he currently chairs.
A proponent of using marketing along with community organizing to achieve his goals as a preservationist, Chapman founded his own niche advertising and marketing agency, Firmidable, (formerly The Marketing Center), in 1991. This career opportunity also created the schedule flexibility necessary for Chapman to pursue his volunteer efforts wholeheartedly.
Chapman and his agency partner, Dennis L. Alonzo, pioneered preservation advocacy advertising in New Orleans, including stopping the demolition of the Cumberland Telephone building on Poydras Street through a pro bono TV commercial in 1996. They also purchased and renovated a threatened Greek Revival-style French Creole cottage, The Rome House, in Ascension Parish on the historic River Road. Through their efforts, they were able to place this threatened 1860s-era home on the National Register of Historic Places.
Chapman ardently promotes reasonable sound level regulation—a cause motivated by unregulated Bourbon Street noise that drove him from his Vieux Carré home. He returned to the French Quarter after four years, purchasing and restoring an 1832 Creole townhouse.
He has served on the board of Louisiana Landmarks Society and served as president of the VCPORA from 2002 to 2008, leading that organization to sweeping success in all of its legislative battles during his tenure. Achievements included leading an effort against turning North Rampart into another entertainment district as well as campaigning to uphold the city’s long-held French Quarter “hotel moratorium,” eventually convincing the mayor to issue an unprecedented veto for a city land-use issue.
While serving as president of VCPORA, Chapman witnessed Hurricane Katrina upend the lives of New Orleanians. He was an active participant in the city’s Unified New Orleans Plan (UNOP) recovery process and helped lead coalitions of neighborhoods in standing up for historic preservation as the city struggled to recover.
In 2008, Chapman presented the Louisiana Landmark Society’s annual Martha Robinson lecture on the topic of “How to Win at City Hall.” He received VCPORA’s Gage-Schwartz Preservation Award in 2009 and the Vieux Carré Commission’s Elizabeth T. Werlein Award that same year.