Bogalusa selected as ‘Cultural District’

Published 2:29 pm Friday, October 2, 2020

The Office of the Lt. Governor and the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism are pleased to announce certification of nine new “Cultural Districts” in the state of Louisiana. The “Bogalusa Historic Cultural District” is one of the newest nine.

This brings the total number of the state’s Cultural Districts to 115, in 71 towns and 41 parishes in all corners of Louisiana. The Louisiana Cultural Districts Program was created by Act 298 of the 2007 Regular Session of the legislature. The primary goal of this initiative is to spark community revitalization based on cultural activity, through tax incentives, technical assistance, and resources.

The new districts certified in 2020 are: Bogalusa (Washington Parish), A.P. Tureaud (Orleans Parish), Houma Heights (Terrebonne Parish), Lake Providence (East Carroll Parish), Marksville (Avoyelles Parish), Renoir (East Baton Rouge Parish), Scotlandville (East Baton Rouge), St. Joseph (Tensas Parish), and Touro-Bouligny (Orleans Parish).

The goal of the Louisiana Cultural Districts Program is to increase interest in revitalization of communities. Wendy Williams Dupont, executive director with Bogalusa Rebirth, who is serving as liaison for the district, states “the certification could attract tax credit investors which could help us to rehabilitate some of our historic properties as well as create an arts epicenter to encourage opportunity amongst artist in regards to promotion, artist housing and workspace.

We are excited to partner with this city on this endeavor.”

Dupont said that once a Cultural District is certified, two tax incentives take effect. The first is that sales of original, one-of-a-kind works of art are exempt from local and state sales tax. Second, renovations to historic structures within the district may be eligible for residential and commercial state historic income tax credits.

Dupont said that similar programs in other states have resulted in increased occupancy, property renovations, a sense of community identity, increased social activity and jobs.

A community planning meeting will be scheduled in the near future to discuss district map and proposed projects.

“As communities across the state begin the task of recovering from the pandemic, the success of the Louisiana Cultural Districts program will prove beneficial as ‘culture means business’ in Louisiana,” Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser said. “By incentivizing cultural development, these communities are positioned to see their cultural economy grow, create an enhanced sense of place, and deepen their cultural capacity. We are excited to welcome these nine new Cultural Districts as further proof that we will remain ‘Louisiana Strong.’”

Any municipal or parish government may apply for a specific geographic area to be considered for designation as a Cultural District. The proposed district must be geographically contiguous, distinguished by cultural resources, focus on an existing cultural anchor, be engaged in the promotion/preservation/educational aspects of local arts and culture, contribute to the public through interpretive and educational uses, and encourage opportunity for affordable artist housing and workspace.