Remembering Beloved LSU Professor Wayne Womack

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Remembering Beloved LSU Professor Wayne Womack

Remembering Beloved LSU Professor Wayne Womack
Dec 05, 2019
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Wayne Womack

The Cultural Landscape Foundation marks the passing of Wayne Marsh Womack, who died on November 21, 2019. For more than 30 years, Womack taught landscape architecture at Louisiana State University (LSU), where he imparted firsthand knowledge of gardens and public landscapes gleaned from his travels across Central America, Egypt, Europe, Asia, and the United States. “Wayne was renowned as a teacher of landscape design, landscape history, plants, and planting design, and he influenced generations of practitioners through his deep knowledge of plants, his astute critical skills, and rare design sensibilities,” said Douglas Reed, founding principal of the landscape architecture firm Reed Hilderbrand, and one of Womack’s former students. 

Born in Fort Smith, Arkansas, Womack earned a B.S. and M.L.A. from LSU in 1955. He worked on the Baton Rouge City Parish Planning Commission as its landscape architect and urban planner prior to earning another M.L.A. from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design in 1961. While attending graduate school, he joined the firm Sasaki, Walker and Associates in Watertown, Massachusetts, where he worked as a project designer until 1965. That year he joined LSU's department of landscape architecture as an assistant professor, and he would be promoted through the ranks to full professor. Outside academia, Womack served as a planting designer for the landscape architecture firm Jon Emerson & Associates, working on such regional landscapes as the Hundred Oaks estate, intially created by noted landscape architect Steele Burden. A great admirer of art, Womack was instrumental in LSU’s commissioning of artist Margaret Stones to produce some 235 paintings of native Louisiana flora in celebration of the nation’s bicentennial. Although he retired from the university in 1999, Womack remained active within the field of landscape architecture. In the 2000s he participated in creating a master plan for LSU’s Hilltop Arboretum, first conceived and developed by Emory Smith in 1925, and aided in the restoration of the arboretum’s ravine plantings. In 2007 he published the book A Philosophy of Planting Design, in which he elaborated on the importance of understanding the nature of plants and how to best use them in design. Womack passed away in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, at the age of 87. He is survived by Jon Emerson, his husband of more than 50 years.

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Hilltop Arboretum, Baton Rouge, LA - Photo by Doug Reed, 2004