The ephemerality of the built environment exists through a multitude of lenses and questions the presumed need for traditional trajectories of preservation and longevity. Established processes tend to focus on ephemerality in terms of growth and decay, responsiveness and interaction, or as visual or phenomenological qualities. The concept of ephemerality is directly confronted in the duality of two media decaying or evolving at varied rates within the environment and is particularly evident along the Louisiana Gulf Coast as land loss, settlement, and culture overlap in a continuous tête-à-tête between biotic processes and the built environment. New methodologies of representation, analysis, and preservation must be developed to address issues of ephemerality within sites of cultural heritage and/or ecological significance. This need is hastened as global climate change identifies coastal edges dramatically altering in the present and near future.
To investigate these methodologies, we selected Fort Proctor, a National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) site at extreme environmental risk. Fort Proctor is one of several forts built in southeastern Louisiana following the War of 1812, and it has remained in a fluctuating landscape as a static marker or datum, recording major ecological changes within the dynamic coastal environment. This essay will discuss the new procedural methodology authored for the preservation of ephemeral sites at extreme environmental risk.