2018 Harnett T. Kane Award
Ann M. Masson wins 2018 Harnett T. Kane Award
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 2018 Award Recipient: Ann M. Masson.
Ann Masson’s lifelong dedication to saving the French Quarter and tireless efforts in preserving Louisiana history and culture exemplifies Louisiana Landmarks Society’s mission of promoting historic preservation through education and advocacy,” says Landmarks Society president Michael Duplantier.
A respected and renowned preservationist, historian, teacher, author and museum consultant, Ann Masson has made the protection of the French Quarter’s residential qualities her personal and professional mission. Throughout her life, Ann has been fascinated with architecture and came to New Orleans to attend Newcomb College, where she majored in Art and Anthropology. She met and married her husband Frank Masson here and with their mutual love of architecture they embarked on a partnership in preservation in the French Quarter. In 1981 they purchased an 1805 a Creole Cottage built by Jean Louis Dolliole, abandoned since the 1940’s, and completed a total restoration of the historic home. Once settled in the French Quarter, Masson embraced every opportunity for engagement within this unique community, including working at the Gallier House Museum as executive director, and serving on numerous non-profit boards including Vieux Carre Property Owners Residents and Associates, Friends of the Cabildo, Save Our Cemeteries, Mayor’s French Quarter Task Force, City Planning Commission of New Orleans Master Plan Advisory Committee, and many others. She and her husband were also instrumental in launching the statewide Louisiana Preservation Alliance.
Realizing the effects tourism has on the French Quarter, Masson also engaged in opportunities to influence the burgeoning travel and tourism industry. She served on the steering committee for Louisiana Tourism Summit and the advisory council for the UNO, School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Administration; and, member, Louisiana Advisory Council on Minority Tourism Development and Arts Tourism Marketing Committee of the Arts Council of New Orleans; and, board member for the Greater New Orleans Tourism and Convention Commission; and, board member, secretary, treasurer for New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation.
Masson has written or is a contributing author for several books including Louisiana Landmarks Society publications, and is currently in progress of writing Architecture of the Vieux Carre for the Friends of the Cabildo. She has written numerous articles on historical and preservation topics for Preservation in Print and KnowLA, Louisiana Life Magazine, and Southern Quarterly. She co-authored Cast Iron and the Crescent City with Lydia J. Owen, re-printed by Louisiana Landmarks Society. She also was editor and contributor for the Preservation Resource Center’s Preservation in Print, and also served as executive director for the Preservation Resource Center.
One of Masson’s specialties is providing consultation for regional museums, producing historical research reports and furnishings plans, decorative arts and interior restoration consulting, and long-range site planning facilitation. Museums she’s worked with include Whitney Plantation, The Oaks Historic Home (Jackson, MS), E.D. White Historic Home (Thibodaux), and Destrehan Plantation. She served on accreditation teams for the American Alliance of Museums, and also consulted for University of Pennsylvania’s Save America’s Treasures project, St. Louis Cemetery Number 1. And, Louisiana Landmarks Society’s own Pitot House has benefited from her consultations on decorative arts and furnishings; she recently guided a freshening of the museum space, including re-hanging art and modifications to objects’ placement.
Masson remains stalwart in her mission to protect the French Quarter’s unique history and culture and is a constant, steady presence for important matters facing this historic neighborhood. She testifies calmly yet pointedly at Vieux Carre Commission and Architecture Review Committee, and City Council meetings to champion her beloved neighborhood. She actively promotes community engagement and currently serves as the president of the board of Beauregard-Keyes Historic House.
The Harnett T. Kane Award was presented to Masson by Nathan Chapman, who was last year’s award recipient. In Chapman’s introduction he noted that “like the Vieux Carre’s famous gallery ironwork, Ann is strong, beautiful, and so [essential to] the French Quarter, it’s hard to imagine that landmark district without her.” Restoration architect Robbie Cangelosi also compares Masson to two other greatest French Quarter preservation advocates, Elizabeth Werlein and Mary Morrison.
Sandy Shilstone, formerly of the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation during Masson’s time on the board said “Ann was very persuasive among people who did not necessarily see things through her lens. Many tourist leaders were caught up in the promotion of the Bourbon Street party. Ann kept reminding our tourist leaders that the French Quarter was first and foremost a residential area.”
In being given the 2018 Harnett T. Kane award, Masson said ”As preservationists, we are but custodians of the legacy passed down to us by the founders of [Louisiana Landmarks Society], who trusted our generation to continue their work... And we are bound to future generations in just this way—handing to them a legacy that stretches back to the very beginning.” Masson continued "I can’t tell you how grateful I am for this honor," and "It means so much to be recognized in such a wonderful way, and I could not be more appreciative," she said.
Preceeding the Harnett T. Kane Award presentation Louisiana Landmarks Society officers and board for the 2018-2019 year were elected.
Officers elected: President - Michael Duplantier; First Vice President - James R. Logan IV; Second Vice President - Sandra L. Stokes; Treasurer - Sally Reeves; Assistant Treasurer - Louis McFaul; Corresponding Secretary - Hilary Somerville Irvin; Recording Secretary - Nathan Lott.
New board members: Fallon S. Aidoo, Ph.D.; Greg Arceneaux; Gabrielle Begue; Julie M. Martin; Sally C. Sinor.
Continuing board members: Mary Ann Barkerding; Mamie Gasperecz; Amanda McFillen; Gordon McLeod; Jerry Pepper.
After the formal presentations the annual meeting adjourned and members enjoyed refreshments and socialized at the Pitot House until the early evening.