Note: This is a reprint of an article in the September 12th issue of the LSU campus news paper entitled "The Reveille". This article was copied from the Revielle Online site.
By Tiffany St. Martin|
On the Louisiana-Texas border lies a structure reminiscent of wartime history and several soldiers who lost their lives in battle - the Sabine Pass Lighthouse. The 146-year-old sentinel was the site of the lone Civil War battle fought in Southwest Louisiana, the 1863 Battle of Sabine Pass. It represents the people, culture and traditions of the area and means a great deal to society, said Barrett Kennedy, LSU architecture professor.
"It's part of the collective memory of that community," Kennedy said.
Located in Cameron Parish, the structure which once served as a guide to sailors is now abandoned and not cared for. Architecture student Lauren Broussard and her father Randall Broussard, an LSU architecture graduate, hope to change that by earning prestige for the lighthouse once again. The father-daughter pair will head a crew of professional architects and engineers in the restoration and preservation of the deserted monument.
Cameron's Preservation Alliance approached Randall Broussard to assist in the project and he eagerly requested that his daughter aid in the renovation of the lighthouse, he said.
"We really just happened upon it," Lauren Broussard said.
Broussard said she took several classes in historical preservation in LSU's architecture department, and she was anxious to begin working with the alliance. "It has absolutely everything in the world to do with architecture," Lauren Broussard said. "Basically everything I do in school will apply to this project."
Her education in architecture has given Lauren Broussard a great understanding of building systems, building systems technology and an abstract representation of structure, Kennedy said. Her encounter with the restoration project will give her several valuable memories and her own conceptions of architecture, Kennedy said.
"That kind of experience is critical to her education," he said.
The classroom training Broussard is receiving will prepare her for working in the field and this project will provide her with hands-on experience to supplement her architecture education, Kennedy said. Kennedy said the service-learning project will put the Broussards in touch with the building as well as the community.
"It's complementary," Kennedy said. "Both should serve as springboards for a great professional career."
The preservation effort will take place in three steps, including a superficial exam, a detailed exam and a historic structures report, Lauren Broussard said. She and her father conducted the first exam at the beginning of August, examining the interior of the lighthouse, she said. Engineers involved in the effort concluded that the structure is in better condition than they originally believed, she said. The team is currently trying to acquire the original blueprints of the structure so that it can continue the restoration project, she said. She said the second step of the process involves an inspection of the lighthouse's interior and structure, and could take a full year to complete. The team is waiting for McNeese State University's engineering department to decide on its involvement in the project, she said.
"Hopefully they'll start that very, very soon," she said.
Writing the historic structures report is probably the most important stage of the process because it will assist the team in gaining funding for the project, she said. She said it will outline the recommendations for renovating such a monument and calculate the cost of restoration. Once the three steps are completed, the restoration process will continue as planned, Randall Broussard said. The accomplishment of the restoration efforts will lead to the remembrance of a notable period in history, he said. The alliance is contemplating making the site a chronicled museum, he said.
"There's a lot of history out there," Lauren Broussard said. "It tells where we came from, where we are now and it somewhat foretells our future."