New Orleans Public Library Alvar Street Branch
MS&R architects and interior designers donated their time and talent to restore the Alvar Street Branch Library. Located in the Bywater Neighborhood of New Orleans, it was the first public library severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina to reopen.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the library officially reopened on July 5, 2006. The design and construction of a restoration of this type would typically take at least ten months. That it took only four is a testament to the initiative, hard work, drive, and passion of all people involved.
Upgraded heating, ventilation, and air circulation (HVAC) system, a new drop ceiling, lighting, and wiring that accommodates new computers are just a few changes that bring the library into the 21st century. The renovated library now accommodates 19 computers (donated by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation). This more than quadruples the community's ability to gain access to government information related to FEMA, the Department of Labor, and social security.