Cadence Wins Jefferson Parish Canal Design Competition

Cadence-Jefferson Parish Canal Design Competition
Canal corridor and urban park space © Cadence

Louisiana’s Jefferson Parish awarded Cadence first place and a $30,000.00 prize for its proposed design for the West Esplanade Drainage Canal. Cadence, a full-service planning and landscape architecture firm, used their solution to convert the functional, but blighted canal into a usable green space for the community. The project site is located in Metairie, Louisiana and sits on the western border of New Orleans. The canal runs through both residential and commercial zones, spans 2.4 miles in length, is surrounded by two lanes of traffic on either side and includes vehicular bridges that traverse over the canal. The challenge was to make for a more visual appealing landscape, while maintaining flood protection and canal functionality, ensuring financially feasibility and abiding by regulatory parameters.

Cadence-Jefferson Parish Canal Design Competition
Enlargement Plan - Volunteer Plaza & Community Botanical Park ©Cadence

Cadence’s award-winning team included PoulosBrown, a civil engineering company based in Orlando, Florida, as well as Studio Snyder, a firm specializing in marketing based in Washington, D.C. Cadence utilized their belief in collaboration as the source of its strength. The team delivered Jefferson Parish an innovative design solution integrated with a community campaign termed “Vive L’Esplanade” (Long Live The Esplanade).

“We are honored by this recognition and were excited by the opportunity to develop a design that is equal parts environmentally, economically and socially viable.” said Cadence Co-Founder Gage Couch.  “It was essential that we create a responsible design solution that incorporated components of fun,” said Co-Founder Rebecca Bradley, a native of Louisiana, and graduate of Louisiana State University. “Louisiana’s unique culture emphasizes the joy of life, so we wanted to provide Jefferson Parish with an environmental asset to display that,” she added.

The design process began by researching key factors that impacted this particular project. The team analyzed regional and local water management studies, landscape and hydrology regulations, federal state and private grant opportunities, reviewed Parish quality of life campaign efforts already in place and studied relevant solutions implemented in other communities both locally and internationally that deal with canal systems as part of their infrastructure. Following a site visit, the completion of a site analysis study and a face-to-face team workshop, the team collaborated virtually to produce their solution.

Six guiding principles formed the foundation for the Cadence team’s holistic vision to beautify and re-purpose the site: beautify, repurpose, implement, define, grow, and engage.

“Our design solution not only included physical upgrades to the look of the open drainage canals, but also included suggestions for a sustainable life cycle management of the design.” said Couch. “Above all else, it was a rational and buildable plan that is both practical and very attractive,” Steve Shurtz, one of the 12 judges, said. “I think what put them over the top is that they really connected the plan to the community with a volunteerism component.”

Cadence-Jefferson Parish Canal Design Competition
Wildflower Path ©Cadence
Cadence-Jefferson Parish Canal Design Competition
Section - Gabion block bank stabilization ©Cadence


Jefferson Parish Canal Design Competition (West Esplanade Drainage Canal)
Design Company: Cadence
Planners and Landscape Architects Twitter @CadenceLiving
Chief Designers: Gage Couch and Rebecca Bradley
Client: Jefferson Parish, Louisiana

Design Team
Civil Engineer: Jamie Poulos, PoulosBrown
Marketing Specialist: Sarah Kate Snyder, Studio Snyder
Illustrator: Eric Hyne, Encore Arts

About Damian Holmes 3266 Articles
Damian Holmes is the Founder and Editor of World Landscape Architecture (WLA). He is a registered landscape architect (AILA) working in international design practice in Australia. Damian founded WLA in 2007 to provide a website for landscape architects written by landscape architects. Connect on Linkedin at