Semester of Graduation

Spring 2018

Degree

Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA)

Department

Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

The Bayou Teche, winding 135 miles from its origin in Port Barre to meet the Atchafalaya River in Patterson, has played an integral role in the environmental, economic, industrial, and cultural development of South Louisiana. The Teche has been called “Louisiana’s most famous bayou” and has been home to two Native American tribes, European settlers, Acadian exiles, African and Carribean slaves, and American colonists, each group contributing to the dynamic identity of the region. Current bayou conditions evidence such an exchange, bearing witness to the range of values that have shaped the bayou’s ecological and cultural context since its earliest human habitation. This project aims to tell the stories of the bayou, interpreting the heritage of the waterway through design intervention. It capitalizes on a recent Teche renaissance, the most tangible expression of which has been the bayou’s designation as a National Water Trail by the Department of Interior in 2015. While that designation has been associated with an investment in recreational infrastructure along the bayou, there is a need for interpretation of the bayou’s cultural, historical, ecological, economic, and other significance – in sum, of its legacy. This project investigates the development of site-specific design to create an engaging, interpretive experience of the Bayou Teche. The primary project goal is to provide an interpretive vision for the Bayou Teche National Water Trail that effectively communicates to users the bayou’s rich, nuanced heritage through engagement with the landscape.

Though this project is focused the Bayou Teche, a particular place with particular considerations, its investigation of management practices and design as a tool of landscape interpretation may prove valuable to communities throughout the country that are looking to understand and celebrate their own cultural landscapes.

Date

4-11-2018

Committee Chair

Risk, John Kevin

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