Two students from the LSU School of Architecture are part of a design team that recently won the $25,000 first prize in the Chase Community Development Competition, a nationwide contest in which college and graduate students partner with local nonprofits to develop real estate plans that are sustainable and meet a prevalent community need in low‐ and moderate‐income areas.
Third‐year graduate student Marcelle Boudreaux of Arabi, LA, and fourth‐year student Jonathan LeJune of Lafayette were on the winning team with students from the University of New Orleans and DePaul University in Illinois. They partnered with the non‐profit Lower Ninth Ward Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development in New Orleans to create a business plan and architectural renderings for a grocery store at 5523 St. Claude Avenue.
In their plan, Boudreaux and LeJune’s team showed how they would bring a sustainable grocery store to the Lower Ninth Ward through an adaptive reuse of an existing building to LEED‐Silver certification standards. They also explained how the fresh food retailer would not only revitalize a dilapidated commercial corridor, but would provide much needed access to fresh food that residents desperately desire.
“This competition is significant because it requires community‐university partnerships that have been well‐thought out and planned,” says Jori Erdman, director of the LSU School of Architecture. “I am especially proud of our students, who continue to demonstrate their capacity for leadership and civic engagement inside and outside the classroom. The LSU School of Architecture teaches our students to thoughtfully engage with communities and the built environment and Marcelle and Jonathan are shining examples of the kind of students we have.”
Students from 12 universities across the nation participated in the competition, which has been held in New Orleans for the past two years after being based in New York City since the early 1990s. It is sponsored by JP Morgan Chase and Enterprise Community Partners.