Semester of Graduation
Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA)
The landscape holds onto the nearly imperceivable cemeteries of the formerly enslaved population that have been erased through time, development, and censure of historical narratives in Louisiana. Immediate action is necessary to retie censured chronicles of enslavement to the landscape, educating the public on deep-rooted systemic racism in the contemporary environment. This thesis aims to provide reparations to the Black and descendant communities of southern Louisiana. This work acknowledges the remaining cemetery fragments, reframing and knitting them together as a network of spaces that uphold a more holistic memory of the past.
The role of landscape architecture extends beyond site specific design, creating nested interventions that layer land policy, institutional support, and memorial landscape design. Each layer acts as a sieve, filtering accessibility from educational resources to the specific cemetery locations of the formerly enslaved. Ultimately focusing on providing safe and physical access to Black and descendent communities. An educational institution brings together multi-disciplinary resources that advocate for, provide monetary support to, and further research the preservation of enslaved cemeteries. Traditional notions of preservation are challenged; moving away from systems architectural merit and laborious compilation site history that dominates historical landscape preservation. Instead, a network of cemetery sites protected through land easements argues the larger contextual importance of slavery in the state and national dialogue. To create a barrier of privacy between educational and physical access, a series of road-side memorials interventions are designed. Together, layered approaches of policy, education, and design can be utilized in landscape architecture to engage with complex site and audience challenges. Despite the focus on Louisiana, this work is applicable broader the United States who have historic legacies of slavery nestled within their landscape.
Phillips, Aubrey L., "Acknowledgement, Education, Memory: Reframing the Cemetery Landscapes of the Enslaved" (2022). LSU Master's Theses. 5560.