Perhaps you already recognize the name Imahara from its eponymous landscape company in Baton Rouge, or maybe from the botanical gardens of St. Francisville, but the story of the family behind it is as colorful as the flora it represents.
Walter Imahara, the grandson of Japanese immigrants who had settled in California, grew up in a large family headed by his father, James, who had tended an orchard and helped newer Japanese immigrants learn to read and write English. But in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, the Imahara family was forced to bounce around different internment camps and never regained ownership of the California orchard, forcing James to start anew in New Orleans, and later in Baton Rouge.
So the fact that Walter, now retired from his landscape business, still maintains his own beautiful, public gardens—designed with each member of his family in mind—is a feat in the face of history, proving that resilience and passion can push a family past any devastation.
To learn more about the Imahara family’s post-war endeavors and the motivation that turned Walter’s gardens into a state treasure, check out our article in the May issue, available on newsstands now.