Student Works to Help Revitalize Neighborhood

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St. John Berchmans eighth grader Jake Watts is a quiet and polite young man, but ask him about his passion for local architecture and he comes alive with enthusiasm. “When my family travels to New Orleans, we see so many historic buildings that have been preserved. Whether it is French Creole architecture or your typical shotgun-style house, the city has embraced these buildings and made them architectural treasures,” said Watts. “When I first came to Shreveport and saw the state of some of our houses and neighborhoods, I wanted to work to preserve similar styles that reflect our local history.”

The area that Jake is focused on is known as the Blue Goose area located near Fairfield Avenue and Sam Fertitta Drive. The neighborhood formerly contained rows of shotgun houses that have since become dilapidated and torn down. It is now mostly overgrown, but there are plans in development to revitalize the area by creating a Blue Goose Blues district which would have restaurants, retail stores, a community park and museums, all surrounded by affordable housing.

Jake took several years to develop a preservation proposal titled “Rebirth of the French Creole Architecture” that would work to restore and preserve current historic architecture and enact design standards to give downtown Shreveport an “1800s Louisiana feel.”  He sent the proposal to City of Shreveport officials and is eager to work with local organizations to preserve local architecture. He has also researched past city plans including the Cross Bayou project and other local areas.

It is rare for someone to show such vision and maturity at a young age, but this future architect sees the benefits of revitalizing our local neighborhoods.  Jake feels that it is never too early to get involved in preserving local heritage. “By creating a district of shops, restaurants and affordable housing, it helps create energy in downtown Shreveport and makes our residents feel safe,” said Watts. “Shreveport needs a rebirth project in place in order to distinguish ourselves as a major Louisiana city.”

by Lucy Medvec

One Response to Student Works to Help Revitalize Neighborhood

  1. Askari Hinton says:

    You have my support Jake and i am willing to help in your mission!

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