An inside look at Bywater home renovations

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NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) -- The Bywater and gentrification have become synonymous as of late, but LaGraize Builders defends the renovation trend -- justifying it as a means to bring the neighborhood back to its historical roots.

The Bywater is in high demand because of its architecture, which is predominately classic shotgun double homes. Due to the changing family demographics and the numbers of people moving back into the city after Katrina, a demand for more single-family homes has risen. Kayne LaGraize, a developer, hand picks and purchases abandoned homes in the Bywater and returns them to their glory days by using materials that retain the historical integrity of the property.

In an effort to preserve the historical relevance of the home, the materials cost more, and therefore cost of living goes up. Classic details such as reclaimed wood, exposed brick, and large front windows are characteristic of Kayne's renovations. After renovating them the homes run between $600,000 and $700,000.

Realtor, Lara Schultz, put it in simple terms: "New Orleans prior to Katrina was 60% renters. That's why you had high crime, and people that stayed inside, now you're starting to see this city turn into a homeowner community, it's good for everyone."

John Guarnieri, Chair of the Bywater Neighborhood Association added that since more homeowners are interested in the Bywater there has been a shift in the sense of community "Bywater is a much more walkable community now like it was years ago when it was first founded."

If you're looking for a way to own a piece of historic New Orleans, this is the way to do it.

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