You are the Place Mouton Preservation Society

by Christiaan Mader

DDA has announced yet another public meeting concerning the redesign of Place Mouton in Downtown. Whether you like the ideas they're rolling out or want to see the grass left alone, you should get out and say something about it.

Concept rendering of Place Mouton redesign
Downtown Development Authority

Folks, if you want some input into how your community looks, you’ve got to get out and say something about it. Believe it or not, public officials generally don’t want to steam roll eyesores into our streetscapes, but dismal public interaction often leaves them in the lurch.

Exhibit the redesign for Place Mouton, the triangular nestle of grass in front of the old Lafayette City Hall at 735 Jefferson St. For the past two years, folks at the Downtown Development Authority have worked on a pave-over concept that would turn that last little sliver of St. Augustine blades — at least I think it’s St. Augustine — into a baby piazza of sorts. Current renderings depict a classy little promenade punctuated with geometric jardins and ample seating. If they go with that idea, it could be a nice place for a cigarette and a conversation with a kind-hearted drifter lilting through town on a quest for a long-lost love.

But maybe you hate that image. Maybe you loathe the idea of park benches and shrubberies. Maybe you take a weekly jaunt down Convent Street and roll in the grass like a dog over a dead finch. That’s your prerogative, friend, but one that you need to voice if it matters that much to you.

Go to some of the I-49 Connector meetings and you’ll always find folks with a look of shock on their faces, as if to say, “THEY’RE DOING WHAT THROUGH DOWNTOWN!?” I should know, I’m one of them. But the truth is projects like these generally do thrive on public input, even if they take years and have insurmountable inertia. Maybe you won’t be able to keep the whole patch of grass, but if a little nestle of Kentucky blue grass is a tractable compromise for you, show up to one of the upcoming meetings and say so.

DDA has held three thus far this year, the dates of which are all published on its website. One yet remains this year on Dec. 14 at 5:30 p.m. at Place Mouton itself. Can’t attend? You can still foist your input upon DDA via a private meeting arranged with an email to [email protected] Of course, you can choose to believe that this is a dog and pony show and your opinion will mean nothing. But you’ll never know for sure unless you show up and scream about it.