Finding a “Sense of place” in Whispering Path

With so many people leaving the city for the country, 2024 is shaping up to be the year of relocation. And those newly in the market for a new home have a wide variety of options to choose from—especially if you want to find a home with a sense of place.

Shreveport, LA. The well-established neighborhood of Southern Trace is surrounded by celestial pine valleys, open meadows, and majestic oaks—offering residents a championship golf course, tennis courts, a state-of-the-art clubhouse, and, most importantly, a sense of place. That sentiment is best established in their new, upscale custom-home village, Whispering Path. For anyone hoping to blend the city’s walkability with the country’s rustic charm, Whispering Path at Southern Trace has been designed as a Traditional Neighborhood Development, a carefully planned neighborhood designed to foster connections and provide respite from the trends of urban sprawl.

At the turn of the twentieth century, Traditional Neighborhood Developments, now renamed New Urbanism, created some of our most attractive communities. Houses and streetscapes were designed for people, not automobiles. Residents could easily walk through the neighborhood to visit friends or stop at the neighborhood park just around the corner.

Unfortunately, the automobile took priority over pedestrians somewhere along the way—and our neighborhoods have never been the same. Our streetscapes are now dominated by cars. Sidewalks, street trees, and pedestrian lighting are limited, if not eliminated altogether. Our current residential pattern seems to tie us to the automobile for every activity.

“‘New Urbanism’ doesn’t mean neighborhoods that replicate the past in a nostalgic manner,” says Paige Hoffpauir, a real estate broker at Ramsey-Hoffpauir Associates who was instrumental on developing Southern Trace into what it is today. “It’s about choosing the best ideas that have worked well over time and replicating those while simultaneously innovating to meet today’s needs of daily living. Especially when it comes to building community.”

Hoffpauir’s vision is to give back to the communities they serve by promoting community activities, such as block parties and directories, to connect neighbors on a block-by-block basis. And, because of the varied influences developers like to incorporate into today’s neighborhoods, there is no one-size-fits-all definition of what they look like. Today, Southern Trace is linked together by streets that handle vehicles while still promoting bicycle and pedestrian traffic.  With the inclusion of a civic space—think park, green or square—Hoffpauir helped develop a new phase of homes in Southern Trace—known as Whispering Paths as Southern Trace—where residents gather to promote a powerful sense of community.

Pedestrian-Centric Design

According to Hoffpauir, the goal behind Whispering Paths “was to produce a compact, pedestrian-friendly neighborhood with all kinds of housing types that allow people to walk to and from an assortment of amenities. Neighbors can interact with each other while sitting on the porches of their homes, which are located near public sidewalks. Narrow streets reduce the traffic flow, gearing more toward pedestrian traffic.”

Reflecting the character of older, more graceful communities, Whispering Path is modeled on the original principles of the traditional neighborhood design. Planned with the pedestrian in mind, an extensive network of walkways winds through the development. Street trees, wide sidewalks, and decorative street lighting make the neighborhood a very attractive pedestrian experience. Design features like larger, functional front porches and open spaces help create this people-friendly design.

“Designing places around the needs of pedestrians was a key principle behind Whispering Path,” says Hoffpauir. The homes create an interesting and attractive edge to the streetscape. The classic architectural lines and historic detailing provide a rich but consistent visual experience.

Shared Resources That Foster Community

Most traditional neighborhoods focus on central, shared areas for recreation and socialization designed to help community members build relationships with each other. “The central park at Whispering Path was not an accident,” says Hoffpauir. “It was a priority to create a beautiful, welcoming open public space that could be enjoyed by everyone—not just those who live in the community of Whispering Path, but everyone in Southern Trace as well.”

Other amenities shared by residents include a championship golf course, tennis courts, a fitness center, and a clubhouse with a pool.

An Emphasis on Sustainability

By focusing on walkability, Whispering Path promotes a higher level of sustainability in residents’ daily lives. The ability to walk to amenities within the community decreases residents’ carbon footprint.

A Mix of Housing Styles That Feels Organic

Another key principle of Whispering Path is a wide variety of housing styles for residents to choose from, which provides options that fit the needs of a more diverse population. “We included a wide variety of residential types,” says Hoffpauir of Whispering Path’s design. “This is not a place where the same house is built and repeated. Each is unique, allowing us to build a more diverse and interesting community.”  Though Southern Trace is well known for its “traditional” heritage and architecture, who doesn’t love a new home for its smart design and curb appeal—better yet, who doesn’t love two that are for sale?

Two currently on the market—10911 Whispering Path and 10913 Whispering Path— “are darling houses,” says Hoffpauir. They were finished in December 2023. According to Hoffpauir, the builder wanted an easily maintained house, and these properties have a lock-and-leave feel. They are centrally located, with easy access to parks, shops, and Interstate 49. Likewise, they have all the amenities and utilities that come with living in Whispering Path.

“The architecture of these homes was really well thought out and beautifully designed,” Hoffpauir continues. “Although the houses have some modern features, like their clean lines, the architecture and interior design leans classic.”

Constructed by Parrish Ramsey and furnished by Ivan Smith Furniture, their shape fits within the setting, appearing to grow from the ground itself. That means fewer hallways and tiny, wasted rooms. They each have open floor plans that afford more useable space—the kitchen that opens to the den and dining areas. An abundance of glass and doors—designed to open and disappear—bring the outdoors in. Here, efficiency is key.

The bedrooms are spacious with individual ensuites. “You can flip out fixtures and wallpapers, but the house’s more staple features—like the countertops and wide-plank white-oak hardwood floors—are timeless. Those,” she says, “will be beautiful 10, 15, or more years from now.”

So why Whispering Path at Southern Trace? Aside from beauty and charm, Hoffpauir was clear that the neighborhood provided a better quality of life for those seeking a community or, better yet, a sense of place. “My job is to help create a neighborhood that reflects that! It’s like a breath of fresh air and a warm hug all in one.”