Our Views: New pattern for the future
Advocate Opinion Page Staff
Published: Apr 8, 2007
Rebuilding Louisiana has been tough work, and early on in the process there was little except frustration: slow settling of insurance claims, a needless battle with the federal government over housing aid, dislocation and despair.
While government had little to offer, one of the talismans of hope in those days was an unlikely hero: the Pattern Book.
Published as a resource for Louisiana residents rebuilding in the wake of the 2005 hurricane season, the Pattern Book contains patterns and techniques for building housing, neighborhoods and towns while remaining true to the values and traditions of the people of Louisiana.
Norman Francis, president of the Louisiana Recovery Authority, last year praised the Fannie Mae Foundation for its initial grant to publish the guide to rebuilding. At a time when rebuilding was so distant, the book gave hope and inspiration to people who had lost their homes, he said. People picked it up in large numbers at building material stores, with foundations contributing money for the book through the LRA Support Foundation. It is also available for downloading on the Internet at www.louisianaspeaks.org.
The Pattern Book was a license to dream about rebuilding our state.
The Pattern Book's compilation of designs reflecting traditional Louisiana architecture is still relevant in neighborhoods across Louisiana. And it has been recognized by the Congress for the New Urbanism, a leading planning organization, as recipient of Congress' annual prize for promoting quality neighborhood development.
The book "has given many pride and hope to rebuild in ways that uphold local tradition," the CNU awards committee said.
The Pattern Book was a useful symbol, but as a grassroots guide to better development, we hope that it has a long-term influence on building in the state.