LSU’s Joni Emmons is one of three students in the nation to be awarded a 2016 Cultural Landscape Fellowship from The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF).
Joni, a Master of Landscape Architecture candidate at the Robert Reich School, will spend the summer working in Baton Rouge and New Orleans to help develop the What’s Out There New Orleans Guide, an interactive online guide to the city’s cultural landscapes.
“I’m excited about this opportunity,” said Joni. “This fellowship will be a great way to use the knowledge I’ve gained about landscape design in my first year of graduate studies while also tying in the writing and research skills I developed as an undergraduate.”
Joni is a native of Parks, a small town near Breaux Bridge and Lafayette, where her appreciation of southern Louisiana landscapes was nurtured growing up on the Bayou Teche. Joni received a BA in English literature and philosophy from LSU in 2012. She said her graduate studies in landscape architecture are a natural extension of her deep interest in perception and narrative.
“Everyone’s daily experience is affected by the environment,” she observed. “I want to investigate the relationship between people and the land, particularly in Louisiana. The unique geology and cultural heritage of Louisiana makes this a great place to study landscape architecture. Once I learned that landscape architecture would allow me to combine my interests in people, place, and design, I visited LSU’s program, and it felt like a great fit.”
Before returning to graduate school, Joni helped research, write, and edit grant proposals for the Department of Tropical Medicine in the School of Public Health at Tulane University. She spent last summer working in her family’s vegetable garden, planting, caring for and harvesting produce, and selling it at a farmer’s market in New Iberia. She also helped out on her family’s crawfish farm.
Joni will spend the summer researching, photographing, and writing essays about cultural landscapes for the What’s Out There New Orleans Guide. LSU Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture Professor Emerita Susan Turner, FASLA, will serve as Joni’s mentor and advisor. Principal of Suzanne Turner Associates, a Baton-Rouge based landscape design firm that specializes in cultural resource history and management and community preservation planning, Turner has dedicated office space for Joni’s use throughout the summer fellowship. Turner recently finished a three-year term as co-chair of TCLF and has served as a member of the organization’s Board of Directors for several years.
“TCLF’s reach is huge, using an amazing website and social media to raise awareness about the cultural landscape and the need for its stewardship on a national and local level,” commented Turner. “The ‘What’s Out There’ program, with over 1,800 entries, exposes citizens to the significant designed landscapes in their home communities. The searchable, easy-to-navigate database is a reference for anyone interested in learning more about a city and its most important places.”
Dr. Lake Douglas, associate dean of the LSU College of Art & Design and associate professor of the Robert Reich School, and two other LSU landscape architecture students, Jane Satterlee and Cameron Spencer, will also contribute to the project.
TCLF plans for the interactive online guide to be available by October 2016 in time for the American Society of Landscape Architects Annual Meeting and EXPO. Each year, TCLF produces a What’s Out There guide for the national convention location.
“For the New Orleans conference, we will also produce the guide in hardcopy for the first time,” added Turner. “I am so pleased that Joni Emmons has been selected by TCLF to do research, writing, and editing for this project. I am looking forward to getting to know her and to collaborating on this guide, which will have a life far beyond the ASLA’s meeting in New Orleans.”
“I can’t wait to get started,” stated Joni. “This project will allow me to learn more about regional landscapes and help me make connections with other professionals interested in the cultural landscapes of Louisiana.”
For a better understanding of the ultimate objective of Joni’s work, view TCLF’s city guides for Chicago, Denver, Houston, Toronto, and Washington, D.C., at tclf.org.
About The Cultural Landscape Foundation
The Cultural Landscape Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides people with the ability to see, understand, and value landscape architecture and its practitioners, in the way many people have learned to do with buildings and their designers. Through its website, lectures, outreach, and publishing, TCLF broadens the support and understanding for cultural landscapes nationwide to help safeguard our priceless heritage for future generations. Visit tclf.org for more information.
About the Master of Landscape Architecture Program at LSU
The Master of Landscape Architecture Program at LSU, ranked third in the nation by DesignIntelligence, the nation’s leading journal of design professionals, is well established and graduates routinely find jobs in design and planning firms, government agencies, and community-based organizations throughout America and abroad. The graduate curriculum is design oriented with opportunities for involvement in issues that range from those of relevance to the Gulf Coast region to those of international importance. The faculty’s diverse professional and research interests are integrated into the learning experience. Visit landscape.lsu.edu for more information.