In late 2021, Friends of Bayou Lafourche completed Phase 1 of an overall master plan for the Nicholls State University batture redevelopment. The completed park includes an off-street parking lot, areas for loading/unloading paddle-powered boats, a custom boat slide for paddle-powered boats, a pavilion, boardwalk, floating dock, connectivity to the existing walking trail, seating, bike racks, and more.
The concept of revitalizing the university’s batture property began in 2017 when FOBL representatives met with the Nicholls State University administration to discuss the feasibility of developing a comprehensive plan for the property. Shortly after, Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou committed Tourism Investment Program dollars to the development of a master plan for the 7.5-acre tract, and a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement between FOBL and Nicholls was executed. FOBL procured the services of Duplantis Design Group in 2018 to develop a phased master plan through a series of planning meetings with Nicholls administration, faculty, staff, student leaders, and community key stakeholders. Once the master plan was completed, Friends of Bayou Lafourche wasted no time in seeking funding sources that would pay for the construction of the bayou-side park.
The Bayou Lafourche Fresh Water District played a crucial role in assisting with the acquisition of construction dollars for the project. By mid-2019, FOBL had secured enough funding to proceed with the design and construction of the first phase. Funding for phase #1 was committed by the Louisiana Recreational Trails Program, the Lorio Foundation, Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou, and Friends of Bayou Lafourche. In 2020 FOBL hired T. Baker Smith for the design work, which included topographic surveys, a geotechnical study, and engineering. Permitting and construction bidding was completed in late 2020. Foret Contracting Group was selected as the construction contractor for the project which began in January of 2021.
With Phase 1 now complete Friends of Bayou Lafourche is working with Nicholls State University and other key stakeholders to complete additional phases of the master plan. The plan includes but is not limited to boardwalks, floating dock, outdoor classroom, amphitheater, sculpture pads, walking trails, off-street parking, pavilion, boathouse, special-use boat launch, covered seating, multi-use building, and enhancements to Hwy 1. With the cooperation of the university, FOBL intends to seek construction funding in order to make the plan a reality through a phased implementation.