New Poydras Center Landscape to Honor Loved Ones with Tree Planting
Julien Poydras High School was built in 1924, and operated as a public school until 1981. Through much of the 20th century the front lawn of the school was shaded by a beautiful canopy of oaks and pecan trees. (See photograph by Fonville Winans).
Julien Poydras himself is buried beneath the impressive granite monument centered in the front yard. Poydras was one of the “founding fathers” of Louisiana statehood, having ridden his horse to Washington DC in 1810 to argue in favor of Louisiana, a US territory since 1803, being made a state. He was successful, and Louisiana became the 18th state in 1812.
The Pointe Coupee Historical Society has owned the building since 1991, and operates it as the Julien Poydras Museum and Arts Center. Last year, the Historical Society commissioned Suzanne Turner Associates Landscape Architects of Baton Rouge to undertake a cultural landscape assessment and design a schematic master plan for improving the landscape. (See illustration below by Turner Associates)
At the end of 2016, crews of volunteers and professionals removed the old broken concrete sidewalks, leveled the lawn, and formed and poured new concrete sidewalks identical to those installed almost a hundred years ago. This completed the first phase of the project.
Nick Musso, project manager for Suzanne Turner Associates, says, “This installation will bring appropriate scale back to this fine old building, and create a picturesque landscape for New Roads.”
Phase II of is now complete. Twenty-two nursery-grown trees have been sold and planted in memory of loved ones, or in honor of someone. During the Annual Board Meeting in September 2017, a Tree Dedication Ceremony was held for the opening of Poydras Park. See the illustration below for tree dedications.
During the November board meeting, it was decided that Pointe Coupee Historical Society will begin with Phase III of Poydras Park. This will include the installation of more sidewalks, benches, a new flagpole, and a water fountain that will be friendly to adults, children, and pets.
The 2019 Jazz Brunch takes place on April 7th and proceeds from this event will be dedicated to launching the last phase of Poydras Park.