Throughout 2014/2015 the University of Louisiana at Lafayette's Sustainable Development Lab (SDLab) developed a National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) historic district nomination for the Freetown, Port Rico, and Crapoudville neighborhoods. Our work was supported through a State grant from the Office of Cultural Development, Division of Historic Preservation, and the Freetown Commission. We accomplished a majority of the necessary fieldwork through a summer class, ANTH 491g: Research in Cultural Anthropology under the leadership of Professor Ray Brassieur and in which we undertook a detailed documentation of over 800 properties and developed an official standing structures survey. The historical narrative for the proposal was developed from the Freetown History Project study previously undertaken by Dr. Michael Martin, Director, Center for Louisiana Studies, Dr. C. Ray Brassieur, Associate Professor of Anthropology and Dr. Lionel Lyons, Professor of Geography, Southern University. The submission was developed, refined and edited by the SD Lab with the aid of professional consultant Laura Blokker and sent on to the National Park Service in Washington DC to be considered for inclusion in the Park Service's National Register of Historic Places.
Early in 2016 it was announced that the Freetown-Port Rico Historic District was officially on the National Register of Historic Places! This is the first such designation in the city since the Sterling Grove Historic District was listed in 1984. Residents in the neighborhood are now eligible for certain historic preservation tax credits and the neighborhood is eligible for special consideration in Federally regulated development projects such as the I-49 corridor design. We anticipate the new district will have a strong impact on the way the neighborhood develops.