The Gulf Coast Megaregion and America 2050

In 2008 the RPA (Regional Planning Administration) came up with the idea of American ‘megaregions’ and formed the group America 2050 to work with people around the country on proposing plans for each megaregion and how they can bring growth to the country.

Since 2008 the group has not, as far as I can see, done much beyond make some beautiful maps of what these megaregions may look like in 2050. I came across these maps a few months ago and edited them to reflect what I thought the Gulf Coast would really look like by then and the type of America we may live in. I also made a High Speed rail route that would connect the country.

Anyways, today we are focusing on the Gulf Coast Megaregion and over the next week I will have four more articles detailing the Southern Megaregion’s and the overall South- East super-region.

As I said we are focusing on the Gulf Coast region and here is a map of it:

Gulf Coast 2050 2

As you can see, Houston is sort of the merging point for the Gulf Coast and Texas Triangle megaregions, but I personally think that the Gulf Coast and Texas Triangle are one large region, especially when you consider their areas of influence which overlap one another. Together this larger megaregion would have a projected population of 41,144,555 million by 2025 and would make up 11% of the nations GDP. This would make it one of the most important regions in the US.

However, for the sake of continuity we will save the Texas Triangle that ‘super region’ for another post. Let’s focus exclusively on the Gulf Coast.

According to America 2050 this is the Gulf Coast in a nutshell:

Principal Cities: Houston, New Orleans, Baton Rouge
Population 2010: 13,414,934

Percent of U.S. Population: 4%
Population 2025: 16,334,987
Population 2050: 23,666,122
Projected Growth (2010 – 2050): 76.4% (10,251,188)
2005 GDP: $524,122,000,000
Percent of US GDP: 4%
Now I have a few problems with this, the first is that a good bit of the information seems to be either outdated or it seriously underestimates the economic growth currently happening in Louisiana. This is economic growth that I have had the opportunity of seeing and experiencing, and while it is certainly not as rapid or noticeable as other megaregions in the South there are still some crucial changes occurring in the Gulf Coast.
The first of these changes surrounds the two cities of Baton Rouge and New Orleans. One the current political capital and the other the historic and cultural capital of Louisiana. Baton Rouge has always been the ‘second city’, but in a post Katrina world the changes that would have taken at least a century to occur are happening at lightning speed. These changes revolve around Baton Rouge becoming the states true capital city. Katrina put into movement the massive growth of Baton Rouge, growth that is hampering New Orleans. Take for instance population. Baton Rouge’s official population is around 230,000 and New Orleans around 379,000 but Baton Rouges real population is much closer to New Orleans. Baton Rouges real population should be around 337,000 but due to unincorporated parts of the city to its south (parts that should be officially in the city) that areas population of 107,000 is not factored into the cities official numbers. This area is heavily developed into Baton Rouge and many consider it part of the city, but it officially is not. For the purpose of this article we use 337,000 as Baton Rouge’s population. By using those numbers it puts the cities of New Orleans and Baton Rouge at a population difference of 42,000 people, a number Baton Rouge is expected to gain by 2025. If Baton Rouge reaches that number and exceeds as many predict then Baton Rouge will be the second largest city in the Gulf Coast. But Baton Rouges transformation do not stop at the population, it relies on the cities growing economy.
The economy of Baton Rouge has largely been reliant on natural resources and politics, but now things are changing. With the attraction of IBM and the continued growth of the Baton Rouge technology park the city is becoming the states technology center; the Silicon Bayou as some call it. This tech presence is bringing and keeping younger people into the city, a population group many cities crave. This younger group of people will bring great vibrancy and energy to the city.

The second aspect of Baton Rouge’s increasingly diverse economy is health care. Baton Rouge has become the first city in the state to have a specific Medical District, and this district compared to other nationwide is huge. The district includes two universities, two major hospitals, a children’s hospital in construction, and multiple research facilities and clinics including one of the state’s largest. Establishing this area as its own district opens up the door for further growth and development, and will allow the city to continue to attract more and more people into the city whether they are there for visits or there to work it increases the labor force and population in the long term.

The third new part of the Baton Rouge economy is the film industry. Thanks to Governor Fosters tax breaks for the industry the state is now leading internationally in film production, the key now for Louisiana to keep that business is to centralize the industry in one city. Given that the Baton Rouge Metro has more film studios than any other state I think it only makes sense to try and centralize it here. Baton Rouge has the space and the state wide connectivity to make logical sense. Not to mention the city is already making more films than New Orleans and Shreveport, so I think it is about time the state and city start centralizing it here. *UPDATE* The State Legislature recently requested Baton Rouge be designated as a center for TV and Film Production like Shreveport and New Orleans; this would be a step in the right direction for centralizing the industry in Baton Rouge.

The fourth piece to the city’s economic puzzle is more of a suggestion, it is something the city is leaning towards only the city needs to step it up. This is the creation of white collar jobs, so banks, insurance, lawyers, brand companies, etc. something other than energy and tech. Another reason for an increase in white collar jobs has to do with establishing Baton Rouge as a global city, while energy and tech do take you a long way diversity has always been key to successful cities.

Baton Rouge is home to three large universities, LSU, Southern, and BRCC. Personally I feel that another aspect of Baton Rouge’s economy should be education; higher education. Nearly all major global and national cities have a large education presence, Baton Rouge is already trending towards this with the Our Lady of the Lake Medical College centralizing their campus, I think it’s time for the state to step it up. As a result I am proposing the construction of four new universities. The first would be The Louisiana Institute of Technology; a tech based university with high standards and quality programs and degrees. The second would be the renovation of BRCC into Baton Rouge University, a liberal arts college with top quality programs and degrees in historical and artistic fields. The next university would be Magnolia University of the Arts; an art school. The final would be the LSU School of Medicine; a medical specific school in the Medical District.  With these schools Baton Rouge would have a total of seven universities; all world class. This would make education a vital aspect of the cities culture and economy and lead to a larger, younger, and more educated population.

The final part of Baton Rouge’s economy is oil and natural resources. Baton Rouge is undoubtedly one of the state’s energy capital, with CB&I’s Gulf Coast HQ, one of the continent’s largest refineries, and an oil specific port the city is well suited for the energy industry. However, many more measures can be taken. For example I think Baton Rouge needs to somehow convince Entergy to move its global HQ from New Orleans to Baton Rouge and if the rumors are true that Exxon wants to build a Gulf Coast HQ here then the city really needs to push this.

In short there a lot of things Baton Rouge needs to do before it can become a Global City, the states premier city, and an American center of education, culture, and economy. If these are fulfilled Baton Rouge can become a critical key in making the Gulf Coast region one of the most important in the United States.

Now let’s leave Baton Rouge and go and look at the Gulf Coast megaregion as a whole. The region is large and spreads from Corpus-Christi to Pensacola. As mentioned previously its largest cities are Houston, Baton Rouge, and New Orleans. The key for the cities and states part of this region is creating contiguous development between most of the cities involved. To achieve this I propose that Baton Rouge construct five high speed rail lines; New Orleans – Baton Rouge, Baton Rouge – Lafayette, Baton Rouge – Hammond, Baton Rouge – Shreveport, and Baton Rouge – Jackson. These five lines not only connect Baton Rouge to some of the largest cities in the region, but allow for further expansion and connections. The Lafayette – Baton Rouge line would eventually expand to connect to Houston, while the Baton Rouge – Hammond would be expanded to Mobile and Pensacola (from there it would connect to Tampa), the Jackson line would go towards Birmingham and then Atlanta, while the Shreveport line would open up connections to Dallas. These lines would make Baton Rouge a transportation center and would connect the Gulf Coast region as a whole allowing for further economic development between the cities within the region and even outside.

That is about as far as I will go with this today, but this is essentially what I’m thinking would be the right moves for Baton Rouge and the Gulf Coast Megaregion. Thanks for reading and joining the revolution.

Metropolitain

CottageSignShoppe; Etsy

Today I will be talking about what inspires me in my designing life and a few things I have been working on this past year. It has been a very crazy year, from moving to a new city to having one of my most creative periods in my entire *short* life! Next year should be a little better as I will not be moving. Originally the plan was to move back to Tampa, but our stay in Baton Rouge has been extended by two years (quickly throws evil eyes at my dad). So at least I will have some stability in my life before college. Enough about my personal life (this is not a life blog or a Facebook page), lets talk about the things I create, why, and what inspires me…you know the stuff you want to read.

At the top of this post I have a picture of the Guimard Paris Metro signage that was designed for the 1890’s Worlds Fair at the height of Art Nouveau. And in case that did not give away the fact we are going to be talking about Paris and metro-systems then hopefully this sentence will. For me Paris represents what every city could be; dense, highly organized and interconnected population centers with a multitude of living styles and attractions united by rich history and culture. For the hell of it I wanted to see what Baton Rouge would look like as Paris and it really puts into perspective the lack of proper development and farsighted political thinking this nation has no dearth of. It shows on a humble scale what Baton Rouge (and many American Cities in general) could be, but sadly are not.

Baton Rouge-Paris map

Thanks Post-War urban planners

The whole city of Paris could fit within the confines (with a few small adjustments here and there) of the cities current limits combined with those of West Baton Rouge and still have some room left over. It is a sad reality, but I problem I was inspired to fix.

You see, for me cities like Paris, London, or Berlin all provide inspiration for me. They showcase what a city can be and that excites me. Paris excites me the most simply because of Haussmann’s renovation of the city (which is responsible for creating what we now see Paris as). The renovation included the creation of Paris’ bullet straight boulevards, uniform building styles, great size, and even department stores. I think the biggest thing these cities have that inspire me is unity. In a lot of the cities I have lived in they lack this, everyone one lives in their own suburb. This has led to our cities being thinly developed, but developed in a way that makes it hard to fix the problems that style of development brought. Take Atlanta, a city notorious for sprawl and try to design a network of roads that connect the city like Paris’ boulevards. Sure, you may be able to make some progress downtown, but the moment you leave downtown you find yourself ripping through communities. The truth is that while sprawl lets us live in our own worlds it also destroys the convenience of living in a unified world. I could take this further and try to link this up with why American politics are becoming divisive, but for the sake of myself and you the reader I won’t but I encourage you to mull on the concept.

The bottom line is that unity is the largest factor that drives my creative life. Whether it be artistic, branding, architectural, developmental, etc. unity is my subway. So when I make any plan I think to myself “How can I unify a community through this?”, “How can I make this united with the areas culture and architecture?”…you get the idea. In one of my most recent designs unity was a big factor. It was a transportation branding for really any city (though I was thinking about Baton Rouge when I made it). Everything from the font, to the color palate, to the typeface, and even symbolism behind the logos.

subway logo

bus logo

ferry logointerstate logorailway logo

So as you can hopefully see I like coherence and unity. This is why making a plan for Baton Rouge is so hard, there is virtually no unity in the city. Anyways this is where Paris and even DC come back in…

One thing that really interests me are metro maps. Their clean lines and *most of the time* easy to read nature. The first metro map that I was introduced to was the DC Metro map when my family visited in 2011. The city was impressive and it certainly left a mark on me design wise, but the metro map left a really big impression on me. Since then I have of course discovered the world of metro maps (this is a topic I will discuss in more detail in the future.). The metro map has really helped me in designing a metro system and eventual plan for Baton Rouge. So add that to the list of things that inspire me.

Awesome map by TransitMaps; Tumblr

The final thing that really inspires me is culture/history. In my first post here I talked about Baton Rouge history and learning about this cities and states history has helped me fall in love with it and enjoy my stay here. So whenever I make a plan I research the places culture and history and it has always inspired me to create different things.

I will end on encouraging you all to find what inspires you and embrace it. Maybe even try to discover something new that inspires you, the internet has made it easier. I encourage you all to use that to your advantage and go make something beautiful. As always, thanks for joining the revolution!

Updates and Harbors

Hallo everyone! I have been very busy this summer! For the first three weeks I was working at school, then I stayed in Tampa for two weeks, after that I went back to work at school. Wednesday work ended and since then I have been working on a ton of concepts that I will be posting here soon. I’m also going to post the second half of the Pan American games post. So expect some new things in coming weeks.

All summer I have really been trying to create a plan for Baton Rouge. Coming primarily from cities associated with water I have a deep love for the sea. As a result all of my plans incorporate water to them, the problem I have had with Baton Rouge is the potential it has to become a great water city.

Now I’m sure your asking, “Well isn’t potential good?” and you would be correct. The problem Baton Rouge struggles with is unlocking that potential. I have been struggling to unlock the water potential the city has until now.

From the beginning I wanted Baton Rouge to have a harbor/port. In my humble opinion, ports and harbors provide economic, urban, cultural, and design opportunities like no other. Just look at Melbourne, Sydney, or San Francisco cities that have beautifully exploited their natural harbors and bays to make their cities global destinations. For Baton Rouge this would obviously be a challenge.

For starters Baton Rouge has no harbors or bays, it is not even close to an ocean, all it has is a river. The big problem was finding the space to create a harbor. So I naturally looked at the downtown area, but it is too developed. Then I looked at Port Allen, it is not even a part of the city or parish so that was a no go as well. Finally I looked to South Baton Rouge, in recent years it has grown to become the cities de-facto CBD. What made it even better is that it is at the heart of a neighborhood bomb, medical boom, and shopping boom. The only thing it lacks is cohesive planning and a hub. By hub I mean a center to the growth, SBR is too spread out and effect by sprawl that their is no central gathering spot. The harbor would become this gathering spot.

So after I found the general area I would focus on I went looking for land that could be developed, and boy oh boy did I find it! Baton Rouge has a southern bluff at the southern most tip, the river then curves. Along this curve is tons of undeveloped land, so me being me figured this will be the place to start to put a harbor. The great thing about this land is the because it is undeveloped it is empty, additionally it is home to a lot of bayous and wetlands. Taking inspiration from the port of Houston and University lakes, this land would be developed into a massive harbor system. This system would allow for South Baton Rouge to connect with the rest of the city and establish a center. Additionally Baton Rouge would have its own massive port. 

Given that the river also flows here allowed for a greater emphasis to be placed on the port. 

Now I will eventually go into full detail of the Harbor system and its different locations/development, but for now I will leave you with a picture of the Baton Rouge Harbor. 

Baton Rouge Harbour

Thank you for joining the revolution!

Baton Rouge; The South’s Barcelona

Yeah, I know, all my post up until know have been about Baton Rouge. Don’t worry there will be post that branch out, but I’m someone who likes to focus on solving problems or celebrating positives for the places I’m in. Right now I live in Baton Rouge and so my post will primarily focus on solving greater urban problems, but using Baton Rouge as a primary subject.

For close to half a year I have lived in this fantastic city recently catapulted to national attention with the high successful Miss USA 2014 Pageant. In that space of time I have fallen in love with this city and will certainly continue to visit it after I leave. The people are very friendly and kind, they take pride in their city and culture. It’s something very unique and special.

It’s it’s atmosphere that truly makes it a shinning gem in a new American South scattered and filled with Atlanta wanna-be cities. Baton Rouge has achieved this mainly in part to it’s close proximity to New Orleans. After living here I can tell that this city has been forced to make it’s own name to succeed. It’s a city that does not rely on New Orleans culture or even stereotypical Louisiana culture, instead it has it’s own culture and identity which does distinguish it from other cities. This has helped the city get business, people, and events and as the city begins to out grow New Orleans you can bet these events will not stop.

What makes Baton Rouge the Barcelona of the South is that the city is a hidden gem. Towards the second half of the 20th century Barcelona fell into disrepair and out of international recognition. However the city reinvented itself and became a hidden gem…until the 1992 Olympic Games which catapulted the city to international stardom and since then it has grown to become one of Europe’s most visited city. I believe that Baton Rouge has a similar story to tell…only will it have the same ending? Will Baton Rouge grow into the defacto cultural and buissness capital of the South? Will it reach it’s full potential and this Garden City of the South become a major American city leading a revival of American prosperity? Or will it’s civic leaders unknowingly prevent this with their consistent ignoring of the challenges they face ahead? I don’t know, but what I do know is that I will do anything I can to help Baton Rouge achieve it’s potential.

Well I hope that set’s the mood for my next few post, and as always thanks for joining the revolution.

The Sights and Sounds of Downtown Baton Rouge

A few weeks ago I was at the Old State Capitol with some friends from Tampa. In case you are unfamiliar with Baton Rouge’s downtown, their convention center or River-center is located next to the Town Square, City Hall, 19th Judicial Court House, Shaw Center for the Arts, and the Gothic revival Old State capitol (where we started our tour). Now I have been into this area of the city before, alas, not expecting much I did not bring my camera. However, after the first trip I realized that this area had a lot more then I expected and from then on out I vowed to bring my camera the next opportunity I had.

To put it in short “The opportunity was there” as my friend would say. So after our tour was complete I decided to walk around the area and took pictures. This post will mainly be filled with pictures so enjoy! Before the picture show commences I would like to say that this entire area is probably BR’s biggest selling points for their downtown, as you will see in the pictures it is truly in the cities heart and contains lush landscaping and beautiful works of art that entertain and inspire. So without further adieu welcome to the North Boulevard Town-square…

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The piece above is located in the squares water area. When I was there many kids were playing in the area.

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This is the squares (and I would argue the downtown’s) main feature. It’s called the crest and is a beautiful work of art. It also serves as a stage for the various events that occur downtown year round.

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These next few shots (and the one above) are my favorites, it really shows the cities skyline in a way that pictures from the river can’t and the cities urban/youthful feel.

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Well that about does it for the nice pictures I took during my travels. I hope to do more for different parts of the city (the bad and the ugly) along with other cities that I travel to. Thanks for reading and joining the revolution.

J’imagine Part 1

J’imagine une ville qui combine une belle architecture avec planification génie.

I imagine a city that combines beautiful architecture with genius planning.

June will make six months that I have lived in Baton Rouge, I guess that’s an advantage of moving somewhere at the end of the year. As someone who looks to improve things Baton Rouge and Louisiana provide a treasure trove of possibilities. The biggest thing I have learned is that infrastructure is not this state’s thing, they are simply stuck in the mindset that a six lane interstate will help move traffic along in one of the nations most commuted cities. In addition to this all infrastructure they have is falling apart and they are very late to fixing it. It’s really sad…I first tried to tackle this problem in my second post or the Baton Rouge loop, there I proposed an eight lane loop around the city that would link up with all major interstates going through the area. I honestly think that it would help ease a lot of the congestion, but what this city also needs is an eight or ten lane interstate.

As someone who enjoys beauty I normally find interstates ugly and unattractive, but they still play a vital role in our daily lives and if designed/constructed in a genius way they can be beautiful works of architecture. However, in some strange way my post today is not about this states infrastructure that is falling a part at the seams. Politicians do not need to be lectured by a teen on their infrastructural problems when there are 2o year olds doing it for a living. Instead today’s post is going to look into how major sporting events can transform cities for the better.

On a forum I’m apart of (UrbanPlanet) there is this kid, younger than me who is trying to bring the Olympics or a little more plausible Pan American Games to Baton Rouge. As someone who has only lived here for a small amount of time, hosting the Olympics or the smaller Pan American Games would be a huge leap of faith for the city and IOC/PASO. Despite the high improbability of this I wanted to look into what would happen or what the city of Baton Rouge could do if hell froze over and they won the Pan-American Games.

The first thing to understand about the Pan-American Games is that they are an event held ever odd four years. The only nation allowed to participate are those located in the Americas. Normally the event draws 42 nations and 6000 athletes, a much smaller number than both the Winter and Summer Olympic Games which typically attract 85-207 nations and 15,000 athletes. In the past cities like Winnipeg and Indianapolis have hosted the event with resounding success, given the games size it is somewhat possible to see a city like Baton Rouge host the event. The one thing going in Baton Rouges favor is that the event is much smaller than the Olympics, going against it is that the city has one of the worst infrastructures I have seen and lacks an international airport that could withstand the number of people that would show up. The only way for the city to host this event would be to do it with New Orleans, but FFS we are going to just give New Orleans some sports but Baton Rouge will have the most and will be the title city.

The first step Baton Rouge/Louisiana would have to take in order to secure the event is upgrade all existing infrastructure. This means upgrading the interstate to preferably ten lanes and for Baton Rouge, constructing an eight lane loop. The next step for Baton Rouge would be the creation of a light rail system, not one that goes all over the city as it’s just not big enough, instead a route that connects the Airport, Downtown, LSU, and the Mall of Louisiana. Looking at the city on Googlenet maps this route would be very simple and would have a good number of people on it. I’m predicting that the biggest group of people that would use the train is college students. Step number three would include expanding/improving the Baton Rouge airport, the big problem is that to expand the airport you need people and to have people you need affordable flights to many destinations…big shocker Baton Rouge fails in both of those categories. So how do you improve an airport? You make it easier to get to. The big plus is that the first two steps involve making transport to the airport much easier, so for step three the city should make the airport more than an airport. I would recommend creating a small convention center/hotel near the airport or on it’s grounds, updating the buildings design, and adding more amenities to those who travel with BTR.  After those investments just sit back and watch the people come, prices reduced, people come, and more destinations added, did I mention more people would come after that too?

Next comes the more tricky part, it’s easy to improve infrastructure and improve an airport but it is harder to attract more companies and people to the city.  The best way to do this is by making your city more attractive, in simpler terms: improve everything that sucks and provides a reason for people to not want to live in your city. For Baton Rouge it’s a lot, from a city council that does not do crap, a bad (though it’s getting much better) crime rate, and the worst education I have ever seen. Those are typically the biggest attraction elements people look into when deciding to move companies or families to a city. The city has certainly tackled crime and now it’s going down, education on the other hand is causing big problems for the people of this city. It has divided the city and is putting many of the children who receive public education a major disadvantage in life. As a meek observer my best advice would be to make a system that allows for local people to control their own education, so a St. George school branch, North Baton Rouge branch, and Garden District  Branch. Each of these branches would control their schools education locally, giving people of the community a stronger voice in their children’s education. This would also allow for growth in certain areas and create more competition to have a better system then the other branch. At this point this is the only way I can see education improved in the city. The whole city council thing is fixed when people vote…so people of Baton Rouge when you don’t like your city council vote their assses out.

With those key problems solved were going to finish this post up in part two. Part two will focus on the actual event and it’s organization. It should be up in a day or two, thanks for reading this blog and joining the revolution, I really appreciate it.

 

Baton Rouge Loop

Recently I joined a message-board known as Urban Planet, being there I went to find the Baton Rouge forum. After finding it and introducing myself I got into a discussion on how to improve the roads of Baton Rouge.

To properly participate I had to get familiar with the cities main roads so I of course went to…The googlenet. Googlenet really helped me get orientated with the area. While on googlenet maps I realized that this city had a really good interstate impression, unlike most American cities. This impression has allowed them to keep many historical buildings and neighborhoods, another thing most American cities can not say.

For a city the size of Baton Rouge you would not expect their traffic to be bad, but actually the city is the most commuted in the state. In fact it has been said, “Baton Rouge has the traffic for a city twice it’s size”…ouch! Let me go get some water from the river to put out that burn! After spending almost a month and a half hear I can say it is certainly true. Most of the traffic is located in South Baton Rouge, this area holds most of the jobs, shopping centers, and LSU. This area is such an important part of the city that when many people in this largely unincorporated area tried to break away, that effort is burning down with no river water to save it. So the fact that the traffic hear is so bad is a major problem.

I began looking for a solution, and I think I have one.

As an Urban Revolutionist, it’s my goal to make modern cities work. Some Urbanest call for the destruction of interstates in our cities, I however, disagree. I believe that instead of getting rid of them, we should embrace them. For Baton Rouge that would be fairly easy, looking at googlenet maps you will see that the city is comprised of three ‘branches’. The first to branch of from the cities main bridge across the river, one goes North, the other South. The South branch splits around Citi Place (an outdoor shopping and business park) the third branch goes more Southward while the second continues on towards New Orleans.

The biggest problem with Traffic that I noticed is that for people living in the cities closer suburbs (Prairieville or Central/Zachary) There is only one Interstate branch. Considering that most of the cities workforce comes from these suburbs I figured there must be a way to decrease the traffic along those branches. The next traffic problem occurred on the states main bridge or ‘The New Bridge’. This bridge sees the most traffic as it is the only access point for people across the river into Baton Rouge and beyond. In a sense Baton Rouge is the gateway to South Louisiana. Having one access point for an important city is likely the worst thing I have ever heard, so a solution was needed. This solution needed to address all traffic concerns and create more access points into the city. So I created this:

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Orange = Interstate

Red = Loop

Looking at the map the first change is the creating of a fourth branch in the interstate, this branch creates a second entry point for Prairieville out of Hwy 61’s lower half. The next change is the North Branch now is a straight shot from Downtown to the Airport. This means that the cities Downtown can now expand over the land left by the previous route of the North Branch.

However, the biggest change is the creation of a city loop. This loop created a second bridge into the city and the renovation a third (or the ‘Old Bridge’). The loop turns Airline Hwy. into an Interstate level road, something that many city natives would love. In addition the loop creates two interstate branches in West Baton Rouge/ Port Allen. I’m imagining that the loop would be toll.

In conclusion while this is not my final proposal I hope you guys get the main idea of it, in short this plan, or one like it would have massive benefits for the city and help it decrease traffic, without creating a large city eye sore and expanding the cities Downtown.

Thanks for reading, and joining the Revolution.

Callin’ Baton Rouge

Recently my family and I moved to the small Southern Capital city of Louisiana, also known as Baton Rouge or ‘The Red Stick’. Founded in 1719, the city has seen nearly seven national flags fly above it’s waterfront and has been a major industrial and shipping location in the American South.

Upon arriving I honestly was not sure what to expect, but the city itself is rather beautiful. It has a unique Southern Charm to it that’s hard to find. One thing I was taken aback by was the greenery, and apparently it is the most tree canopied city in North America. The city is also home to The Louisiana State University (LSU) and Southern University, a historical black college. So far I have only lived in the city for a few weeks and have been very impressed with the amount of growth it seems to have, after doing some research I have found the following things:

  • The city has the ninth largest port in the US, and is currently undergoing an expansion
  • Three Fortune 500 companies call Baton Rouge home or have a headquarters located here: IBM, Shaw, and CB&I
  • Lamar advertising also calls the city home, that company is a Fortune 1000 company
  • The city will be home to one of the largest water preservation campuses in a few years

So for me, being an urban enthusiast, I’m excited to be living here during what seems to be the cities ‘golden age’ of development.

In addition to researching fun city trivia I also wanted to find any historical information I could, and boy was I in for a shocker! I discovered this map searching through Google:

Plan of BR 1806

The link brought me to this amazing French-American site

In 1806 Baton Rouge was still apart of Spanish American territory and because of it’s natural barrier to hurricanes and prime location the city had a promising trading future. In response to this Elie Toutant Beauregard wanted to create a new city center in French Colonial Tradition. So after many attempts at creating a master-plan he contacted  Arsene Lacarrière Latour a French architect who had recently arrived in New Orleans  to create one.

According to the article, “The city Lacarrière Latour had imagined was anchored on the Mississippi River and bordered on three sides by wide boulevards shaded. It focused on either side of a central axis (now Government Street) extending from the River to the east, with its center a large square (Place Royale), the heart of the city, which opened on not less than 16 different streets, four of which cut the city map diagonally and debouched at their end on a smaller site. Each of the seven squares allow further enhance public buildings: Cathedral Place Royale, the governor’s palace on the Place d’Armes, hospital, school, market...”

The structure would have broken the cities pre-existing grid and created social spaces for the residents through the planned Colosseum and Vauxhall (1). The plan would have elements incorporated from major world cities of the time such as London, Paris, and Washington. Large squares dedicated to Christopher Columbus would have been surrounded by warehouses and customs offices.

The entire effort fell through after the land was annexed by the US (along with the West Florida States) in 1810 coupled with the death of Beauregard in 1809. Very few building had been constructed and all that remains today is the beginnings of the street grid in the form of the downtown’s historic Beauregard Town neighborhood.

After seeing this plan, I personally can not stop wondering what Baton Rouge would have been like today if things were constructed. Obviously the loss of Spain would have made it hard for the city to become a crucial point, but maybe it could have served (as it does today) as an alternative port to New Orleans. In the end we will never know what might have been America’s Paris. 

That’s all for today folks! I’m thinking about going downtown today so maybe a picture post is in our future! Have a nice day and thanks for joining the revolution.

Notes;

1. Vauxhall – Popular in Europe at the time, they were gardens adorned with decorations. The public could attend live shows, live music, or play games outside.

*UPDATE*

I found another picture of the map with the major buildings of the city in 1806 worked into the proposed plan:

Beauregard layout