Waggonner and ball logotype black
Waggonner and ball logotype white
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Rayne Church Restoration

Waggonner and ball logotype black

Rayne Church Restoration

A storm damaged masonry steeple on a Victorian church proved an interesting puzzle to reconstruct.

Renovation work on this prominent 1875 Gothic Revival church encompassed four phases throughout the complex of linked but separate structures, completed in 2000.

The church suffered catastrophic damage during Hurricane Katrina, when the upper 60 feet of the bell tower collapsed, breaching the roof and attic of the sanctuary below. Familiarity and experience gained during the renovation allowed the firm to prepare restoration drawings quickly. Waggonner & Ball continued on to restore two other damaged steeples during the same post hurricane period.

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03 rayne memorial united methodist church copper finials 800 0x93x534x668 q85
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Documentation of the missing tower did not exist, requiring careful analysis of remaining structural elements, surviving brickwork, and historical photographs to prepare construction drawings. Handmade bricks were selected and blended to match the size and color of originals. The steel frame for the steeple was prefabricated off site and raised by crane in three sections. Dormer finials were custom cast in copper to match those damaged by the storm.

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09 rayne memorial united methodist church 1920s vintage photograph credit historic new orleans collection 800 0x13x621x776 q85
13 rayne memorial united methodist church steeple replaced after hurricane katrina waggonner  ball architecture 800 0x68x532x665 q85
13 rayne memorial united methodist church brick profiles identified rebuilding after hurricane katrina 1200 0x0x800x573 q85

The firm catalogued over fifteen different brick shapes from the wreckage. Special bricks were recast to match the originals from special wood molds and millwork details were developed and executed that were faithful to the original design.