Developer Robert Daigle announced that his Youngsville traditional neighborhood development, Sugar Mill Pond, has inked a deal with sugar cane farmers from eight parishes to grind sugar cane. “It’s the ultimate in mixed-use,” says Daigle, who has pioneered melding residential and commercial properties under one roof. “We’ve been so successful with commercial development we thought we’d make the leap into industrial as well.” Sugar Mill Pond architect Steve Oubre says he has always wanted to design an industrial building, and the waterside park at Sugar Mill Pond offers him a perfect opportunity. “There was all that wasted space by the lake,” Oubre says. “Now imagine it filled with the classic Louisiana design of a sugar mill. And rather than disguising the crushers, boilers and centrifuges, I’m looking at a French Caribbean style open-air design with porches, French doors with working shutters, and of course a thatched roof, so visitors can see every detail of how sugar is made.”
Daigle and Oubre have all kinds of environmentally sustainable ideas on how to use the waste from the mill. The lake will be rededicated to hold liquids and sludge. Decomposing organics heat up, releasing gasses, which Daigle envisions converting to fuel. He’s partnering with the UL Engineering Department, which is working on a methane fuel cell designed to run the aquatic version of the CajunBot, an airboat dubbed “Ça Pue.” Before entering a national contest for robotic airboats held in the reflecting pool at the National Mall in Washington, UL will do extensive testing of Ça Pue on the lakes at Daigle’s other TND, River Ranch.