He doesn’t sit in an office wearing a suit and tie. He is a hands-on worker, dedicated to the restoration and preservation of New Orleans historic houses and buildings. Originally from Mississippi, he moved to New Orleans to work on a master’s degree in historic preservation at Tulane University’s School of Architecture.
In 1995, he opened his own practice, dedicated to preservation work. As a registered architect in both Mississippi and Louisiana, he works on a large variety of establishments, particularly those that have been flood damaged or demand repair, restoration or renovation. One of his many current projects includes designing hurricane-resistant houses in keeping with the area’s history on the Mississippi coast.
He also offers other services, such as kitchen and bath additions, as well as floor plans. A self-described “doctor for old houses,” Dillard is not afraid to crawl underneath and look at what the issues there may be.
Among some of the major issues that afflict houses here are settling foundations and termites, not to mention flooding. He maintains a one-on-one relationship with clients, assisting them all the way from design, to supervising the construction or renovation of their homes.
Some of the places he has restored include the Laura Plantation, which received extensive damage from a fire in 2004, and he has also drawn plans for the Whitney Plantation. He designs new buildings, but remains true to historic models.
“The historic districts in the city are our greatest assets. Homes we have here that date back should be saved, renovated, used and maintained,” he says.