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History Spotlight: Loyola Faculty and Students Prepare New Exhibit for Chalmette Battlefield

Loyola press release - May 18, 2018

Lost Louisiana community of Fazendeville honored through new 3-D exhibit

Loyola faculty and students will spotlight a bit of Louisiana history on Friday in a meeting with representatives of the National Park Service, who will review their work for inclusion as an exhibit at Chalmette Battlefield. More than a dozen Loyola Honors students and at least three faculty have over the course of more than a year carefully researched and created historical 3-D models of Fazendeville, a small historically black community in Saint Bernard Parish, La. that was dismantled in the 1960s by the U.S. Department of the Interior to expand Chalmette Battlefield National Park.

“Fazendeville was a small but important black community in Southeast Louisiana that was dismantled at a pivotal time in history, largely to the detriment of community residents,” said Dr. Naomi Yavneh Klos, director of the Honors program at Loyola University New Orleans and current president of the National Collegiate Honors Council, an association of honors programs internationally.

“The National Park Service sought to rectify this and honor the Fazendeville community. In creating this exhibit, our students sought to honor this lost community’s important history and contributions to the area. It is our hope that the models we created will become a permanent exhibit for the Chalmette Battlefield Visitors center as a reminder to all visitors of the people who once lived in this area and contributed so much to our local history and culture.”

Representatives of the National Park Service will meet at 4:15 p.m. on Friday, May 18 in the Loyola University New Orleans Honors offices, located on the first floor of the J. Edgar and Louise S. Monroe Library. At 5 p.m. the group will review and inspect two historical models of Fazendeville in the Media Lab in Monroe Hall. With approval, the project will become an interpretive exhibit for the National Park Service Chalmette Battlefield Visitors Center.

More than 50 families were forced to relocate when the National Park Service obtained the Fazendeville community land through eminent domain. Fazendeville Road was closed on November 24, 1964, and the demolition of Fazendeville was completed in 1966. Fifty years later, in a meeting to discuss potential collaboration on a National Collegiate Honors Council “Partners in the Park” Program, the National Park Service asked how the Loyola Honors Program might help Jean Lafitte National Historic Park address their 50-year-old federal error. Park rangers present sought an interpretive plan for the Chalmette Battlefield Visitors Center and another for Rangers to take on the road for training and education.

The University Honors Program agreed to create two models of Fazendeville, a small one for travel and a much larger model for permanent display at the Chalmette Battlefield Visitors Center. With unanimous approval from the National Park Service, Loyola Honors students and faculty spent several weeks exploring the plan’s feasibility, and John Seefeldt, assistant professor of interactive media at Loyola, agreed to lead a Student Modeling team that would design and print the two Fazendeville 3-D models.

Seefeldt had determined that the project was feasible as long as his design and modeling team were provided a plethora of plans, surveys, photographs and maps of Fazendeville prior to demolition. The Honors program agreed to ferret out the necessary Fazendeville primary sources and also to pay for printing material.

Together, Loyola faculty and students subsequently spent more than a year of tedious research poring over records from the National Park Service, State of Louisiana, St. Bernard Parish Assessor’s Office, St. Bernard Parish Sewerage and Water Board, St. Bernard Parish Planning Department, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, as well as private appraisal records located in libraries and offices throughout Southeastern Louisiana. Additionally, they worked with former Fazendeville residents, who provided access to private records, including deeds, surveys, and photographs. Professor Seefeldt and his students expertly interpreted these primary resources and painstakingly entered data into the 3-D modelling program.

In summer 2017, Seefeldt printed an initial small 3-D model of Fazendeville for review at a public unveiling. Rangers, residents, parish officials and other members of the public provided feedback, and the Loyola team researched further for implementation. In March, 2018, the large Fazendeville 3-D model was completed, and the University Honors Program submitted the required paperwork to the National Park Service’s local office. On May 7, Christine Arato, chief of Interpretation & Education for the park service, began the necessary documentation to accept the models as an interpretive exhibit for Chalmette Battlefield. Final inspection is May 18.

With great appreciation to the National Park Service and other partners, Loyola University New Orleans celebrates students and professors involved in the project:

Loyola University New Orleans Fazendeville Project Leader

Naomi Yavneh Klos, Ph.D.

Director, University Honors Program, Loyola New Orleans

President, National Collegiate Honors Council

Chair, AJCU Honors Consortium

Interpretation, Design, 3-D Modeling and Fabrication

John Edward Seefeldt

Assistant Professor of Interactive Media

Loyola University New Orleans Student Research and 3-D Modeling Assistant

Kelly McMahon, '17

University Honors Student Participants

Michael Pashkevich, '17, Research Assistant

Talia Bowles, '20

Meagan Connors, '20

Mary Davis, '20

Cierra Johnson, '20

Cole Kenkel-Danly, '20

Claudia Mascari, '20

Liam Oliver, ‘20

Matthew Ruiz '20

Adam Schrubbe, ‘20

Annie Skivington, '20

Daniel Vijil-Asfura, '20

Katherine Walters, '20

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