WLA Studio is preparing cultural landscape reports (CLR) for the Barataria Preserve and for the Chalmette Unit of the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve in Louisiana. The Barataria Preserve features 23,000 acres of swamps, bayous, fresh and salt-water marshes, and forest. Archeologists believe that people settled in the area as early as 3500 BC. Today, the banks of the bayous have evidence of early occupation sites, including large shell middens and earthen mounds. Later, Spanish colonists developed roads through the forest and a group of Canary Islanders established a small community near the banks of Bayou des Familles. In the 19th century, farmers transformed the landscape by converting dry land to sugar cane plantation.
Today, this portion of the Louisiana coastal region is experience high rates of subsidence due to a combination of natural processes and manmade changes made to the local environment. High rates of sea-level rise, salt water intrusion, and an increase in intensity and frequency of storms threaten both the natural and cultural resources of the preserve.
WLA Studio is leading a team that includes archeologist and environmental scientists to document the existing conditions of the preserve and provide strategies to assist the National Park Service provide long term protection and stewardship of the fragile landscape.