2019 Harnett Kane Award presented to John Koeferl

At the Louisiana Landmarks Society annual meeting on June 2, members elected the board and officers before socializing on the grounds of the Pitot House. As always, however, the announcement of the annual Harnett Kane Award was the most anticipated portion of the program. This year’s winner, John Koeferl, is a longtime advocate for Holy Cross in the Lower Ninth Ward. He was recognized for his decades of volunteerism with Holy Cross Neighborhood Association and Citizens Against Widening the Industrial Canal.

In making his acceptance speech, Koeferl, good naturedly joked that he was visited by the ghost of Harnett Kane, who encouraged him not to mince words about the potentially disastrous replacement of the historic lock on the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal and the St. Claude Avenue Bridge. Beyond loss of these historic structures, the plan to place a new lock closer to Lake Pontchartrain has sparked concern about high water levels of the Mississippi River to extend deeper into the canal, which suffered catastrophic failures following Hurricane Katrina. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is proceeding with project planning, but has not yet been given federal funding for the almost $1 billion project.

Nathan Lott