Campti Historic District Strategic Plan

Project Goals:

This project engages students and faculty from Louisiana State University and the University of New Orleans with community members to conduct separate but coordinated urban design studios. The community needs safe housing, public infrastructure (e.g. sidewalks, streetscaping), and incentives to preserve historic structures. The studios will focus on developing a community-based vision, design strategies & implementation policies. The effort will also explore public-private partnerships and incentives to increase implementation capacity. The studios are as follows:

ARCH 4072 Community Design Studio (LSU) introduces 4th-year architecture students to community design and community-based practice with an emphasis on contemporary participatory action research. LSU students will focus on: Community inventory (with UNO), History/urban morphology, Edenborn design strategies

MURP 6720 Practicum in Urban and Regional Planning (UNO) focuses on the applied aspects of urban planning. 2nd-year graduate students work together to complete community-based work and develop a professional group report. The UNO students will focus on: Community inventory (with LSU), Economic development, historic preservation, housing
Starting in Spring 2019, students from the two universities will work together to facilitate community design workshops engaging 75-100 Campti stakeholders (target audience) to develop priorities and design strategies for the historic core. This will include:

  • Small group meetings and a community-wide public design forum
  • A strategic plan with existing conditions, community goals & objectives, design recommendations, and implementation strategies
  • Results presented to the community by faculty and students in a 2nd public forum
    Final report presentation (including community comments, design schematics, and policy recommendations) to the corresponding departments, community participants, and funders
  • Engagement and educational opportunities to develop a model for similar co-institutional community-based work.
Project Team:
    • Traci Birch, PhD, AICP Interim Managing Director
      Assistant Professor in the LSU School of Architecture
    • Marla Nelson
    • National Trust for Historic Preservation

Direct + Broader Impacts:
The Town of Campti is the oldest town on the Red River and has a long and varied history. Based on the 2010 Census, Campti was also listed as the 8th poorest US community (+1,000 population) and struggles with disinvestment and economic hardship despite its proximity to the bustling City of Natchitoches, LA. Land use and development patterns have been shaped by the community’s proximity to the river and abundant resources. East of the river on the high ground sits the historic downtown, which includes the Campti Historic Museum, several historic homes, municipal buildings, and the oldest all-wood Antebellum Catholic Church in the diocese (and one of the oldest in the south). One will also find historic residential and commercial structures in need of repair, and numerous vacant lots requiring infill strategies suitable for the scale and needs of this small community.

Resilience for Campti involves creating opportunities for community investment that encourage safe and affordable housing, sustainable entrepreneurship, preservation of historic assets, and context-appropriate future growth. Participation in the LCRI identified several opportunities for the community, including establishing a historic district, encouraging rehabilitation of historic structures, developing recreation and tourism opportunities, and creating a community-led vision and strategic plan for the historic Edenborn Street corridor.