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The Golden Hour: The Role of Historic Preservation Law in the Immediate Aftermath of Disaster

August 2006

Citation: ELR 10634

Author: Stephanie J. Talbert

Editor's Summary: Hurricane Hugo damaged approximately 80% of the 3, historic buildings located in Charleston, South Carolina. The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, caused considerable damage to landmark property in New York City. And no one can deny that New Orleans, one of America's oldest and most distinctive cities, suffered staggering damage after Hurricane Katrina. While each of these disasters brought about unique problems locally and nationally, all three raise a common question: What is the role of historic preservation law in the immediate aftermath of a large-scale disaster? In this Article, Stephanie Talbert looks at the role historic preservation law played in responding to Hugo, Katrina, and the terrorist attacks. Based on her examination, she concludes that the current framework is flexible enough to immediately respond to a disaster but that a program to support and utilize historic preservation laws immediately after disaster is still necessary. To that end, she proposes a national three-part program that could be used in any of the 50 states.

Stephanie Talbert graduated from Pace University School of Law in May 2006, earning a juris doctor and a Certificate in Environmental Law. She would like to thank Profs. Dorothy Miner and Nicholas Robinson of Pace University School of Law for their encouragement and assistance with this Article. The author would also like to thank her husband, John L. Talbert II, for his endless support.

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