Just Imagine SWLA, the 50-year resilience master plan comprising 11 catalytic projects dedicated to transforming Southwest Louisiana's, was recently awarded the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU)'s Charter Award in The Region: Metropolis, City, and Town category at the CNU Annual Congress in Cincinnati, Ohio. A team from Southwest Louisiana, all with different roles in implementing the plan, was there to accept the award. 

According to the CNU website, their Charter Awards recognize outstanding achievements in architectural, landscape, and urban design and planning worldwide that resonate with CNU's principles and foster communities where people thrive. Just Imagine SWLA ranges in scale from coastal protection and other major projects to neighborhood plans and individual buildings. The combination of effective projects at multiple scales convinced the Charter Awards jury that this plan will have a powerful impact.

“Our team at Urban Design Associates (UDA) is proud to see the Just Imagine SWLA plan honored with this international award. The plan, which was built on significant community input from citizens as well as robust partnerships across Calcasieu and Cameron Parishes, will be transformative for Southwest Louisiana,” said Megan O’Hara, AICP and UDA Principal and project lead. 

A team from SWLA attended the 32nd annual Congress for the New Urbanism in Cincinnati, Ohio and participated in workshops, city tours and networking all related to building better places. “It was exciting to be recognized alongside other world-class projects that are changing communities for the better all over the world,” said Eric Avery, owner of Crying Eagle. “Attending this conference really brought home to me that our project on the lakefront, as part of the Just Imagine master plan, is indeed enhancing the quality of life for our region.”

UDA spent a year listening to citizen input and working with Just Imagine volunteers to develop this 50-year resilience master plan that now includes 11 catalytic projects. "We are thrilled to see movement, as eight of the 11 catalytic projects are addressed in the recently passed LC REBOUND bond initiative. We commend the Community Foundation SWLA and all of the community members who have participated in the Just Imagine SWLA process. To see Just Imagine SWLA recognized with a 2024 CNU Charter Award is an absolute honor. I am so proud to have been part of the team that made this happen,” said Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter.

Just Imagine SWLA was made possible through a generous donation by Moss Bluff native David Filo and his wife, Angela. The realization of the Just Imagine SWLA plan, a testament to our community's vision and commitment, is made possible by the contributions of various local partners, whose unwavering support has been instrumental in its success.

“We are excited that Just Imagine SWLA has been recognized for this prestigious award. Cameron Parish is proud to be a partner on the Just Imagine team as we work together to preserve and strengthen our coast to help ensure a resilient future for both Calcasieu and Cameron Parishes,” said Cameron Parish Administrator Katie Armentor.

Partners include the Community Foundation of Southwest Louisiana, Calcasieu Parish Police Jury, Cameron Parish Police Jury, City of DeQuincy, City of Lake Charles City, City of Sulphur, City of Westlake, Town of Vinton, Town of Iowa, Calcasieu Parish School Board, Cameron Parish Port, Chennault International Airport, Lake Charles Housing Authority, McNeese State University, Port of Lake Charles, SOWELA Technical Community College, Chamber SWLA & Economic Development Alliance and Visit Lake Charles.

“The Community Foundation of SWLA is well-deserving of this prestigious award. Just Imagine SWLA communicates a bold vision for our region, and it shows us how we can get there. The Calcasieu Parish Police Jury is proud to be a partner in this effort”, said Calcasieu Police Jury President Anthony Bartie.

Follow Just Imagine SWLA on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram. Visit justimagineswla.org and subscribe to our e-newsletter.  


About Just Imagine SWLA:
Just Imagine SWLA is a 50-Year Resilience Master Plan for Calcasieu and Cameron Parishes, facilitated by the Community Foundation Southwest Louisiana, is a collaborative effort to shape the future of the region. The plan aims to bring together local governments, agencies, organizations, and citizens to enhance living standards, attract new residents and investments, and build resilient infrastructure. Key areas of focus include improving natural amenities, expanding cultural experiences, providing affordable housing, and boosting economic strength. For more information, visit www.justimagineswla.org.