“He inspired students to believe they could achieve greatness and truly make an impact in their community by persistence and passion alone,” Damon Robert writes of the late UL Lafayette geosciences professor Griff Blakewood on the Freetown Press blog in July 2015.
When Griff caught wind of the future plans for the Horse farm, he quickly took action and did what he’d always done best, inspire others. He rallied behind a student-run campaign to “Save the Horse Farm” and gave legitimacy to a cause, which would have otherwise been ignored by the former powers-that-be. In the end the farm was saved and the university made the decision to sell the property to the Lafayette Consolidated Government.
Happily ever after, except for one exception. In early 2013 Griff was diagnosed with cancer. A cancer he still managed to teach classes through, (I was one of his students), and a disease that he didn’t make apparent to the university until shortly before his death in 2014 at the age of 54.
Tuesday afternoon the Lafayette Public Trust Financing Authority’s board of trustees took to heart the words of Robert and so many of the inspiring mentor's former students by voting to honor Blakewood with a permanent monument on the Horse Farm property, now officially called Moncus Park at the Horse Farm.
Blakewood's and his students' efforts are largely credited with killing an ill-conceived property swap deal that would have led to commercial development of the Johnston Street property.
As part of its $2.6 million donation to the park in 2013, the LPTFA had reserved naming rights to a portion of the park, in much the same fashion as other major donors.