Recent LSU grad transforms Tigerland in new design to make it safer, more inviting

A recent LSU grad has a vision to transform Tigerland, to make it a more safe and inclusive space for students and residents.
Published: May. 24, 2023 at 10:51 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - A recent LSU grad has a vision to transform Tigerland, to make it a more safe and inclusive space for students and residents.

As part of her senior capstone project for her landscape architecture bachelor’s degree, Taylor Lasorsa completely changed the way many see Tigerland, putting safety first.

Lasorsa believes the area has a lot of potential to be more community oriented as well.

“So, I chose this project to honor my friend Sarah James who died in 2019. She was killed at the intersection at Tigerland, so I always wanted to do something for her,” said Lasorsa.

She spent a year doing research and working on the project and believes the entire area could become a district in the future.

“Ideally if this project were successful, it would be a way to change that perception of what Tigerland is, and looking at it as a district or something that people would want to come to, and feel comfortable doing that,” said Lasorsa.

The project focuses on safety elements like different design plans for expanding Nicholson Drive, lighting for pedestrians, more walkways, bus routes for residents and students, and a spot for rideshare pickups and drop offs. Also, reducing parking to hopefully deter people from drinking and driving.

“To make Tigerland a space that feels like it’s for people, and not just a place where students come to drink at night. That comes in with looking at some daytime activation, like creating park spaces where there’s shade, Maybe having a place for students to come and study,” said Lasorsa.

She said she’s had more than 20 meetings throughout this process with a number of stakeholders, including the local bar owners, and LSU President William Tate.

“Everything that I saw, it looks great. It’s interesting because some of the plans that she outlined, Fred (Raiford) actually was planning on doing those things before the pandemic,” said Jennifer Racca, councilwoman for District 12.

Metro Councilwoman Jennifer Racca represents the area.

While this is still just a proposal, it would need a lot of funding if it would ever actually become a reality.

As for deterring crime, Racca said the cameras put up by local business and apartment owners are actually helping police in some instances.

“There’s been conversations between the administration and several people in that area to make it safer. Is it an overnight fix, no. So, the real thing that we have to do, is make sure we’re accountable for our own actions when we go to those places,” said Racca.

“The idea is that it becomes, Tigerland becomes a place that LSU and the Baton Rouge community are proud of, and thinking about it that way,” said Lasorsa.

Councilwoman Racca wants to speak with Lasorsa to discuss the plans further, alongside folks with EBR’s Transportation and Development leaders.

Take a look at the video presentation of the project here.

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