Illuminating Change

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Related people
Ellen Warfield (designer)
Kristi Cheramie (studio professor)
Spring 2019
North and Central America->United States->Louisiana->Wax Lake Delta
This was a student project by Ellen Warfield for Kristi Cheramie's course LARCH 6910 in Autumn 2018.
In 1941, the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers constructed the Wax Lake Outlet as a way to divert part of the flow of the Atchafalaya River, in order to lower the risk of flooding in nearby Morgan City, Louisiana. Since its creation, this outlet has led to the formation of a thriving delta. While the land on the majority of Louisiana’s coast is disappearing, new land is appearing in the Wax Lake Delta. With rising coastal waters threatening ecosystems and human livelihoods, the Wax Lake Delta serves as a place of hope and an example for how land building efforts can be successful. Tasked with designing a memorial to time and change, this memorial design aims to draw upon cultural practices and human interactions with the landscape to create an experience that would focus attention on the changing forces at work. The design first includes an annual festival, consisting of the placement of 500 buoys along one of the outer channels of the delta. These buoys would bring attention to the changing structure of the landscape, both as land is added to the delta on an annual basis and as changes occur throughout the day with the fluctuating tides. This festival would coincide with the start of the Brown Shrimp season, drawing upon the outdoor recreation interests of individuals living in the region. Additionally, aerial photographs taken during the festival would serve to capture the way the Wax Lake Delta changes over time. These photographs would be included in a traveling exhibit, which would be displayed in museums around Louisiana, in order to bring attention to land building efforts along the coast. Overall, the design aims to draw upon current and historic relationships with Louisiana’s coast, in order to help individuals living in the region feel ownership over the landscape and to begin to recognize the forces of change within the landscape from new perspectives.

Project Location: Wax Lake Delta, Louisiana
Landscape Architecture
LARCH 6910
Academic Class