Tegan Wendland

Coastal Reporter, Interim News Director

Tegan Wendland is WWNO's Interim News Director. She also reports on the coast. She has a background in investigative news reporting and an M.S. in Life Sciences Communication from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has worked as a reporter for Wisconsin Public Radio, The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, WRKF-FM in Baton Rouge and WVIK-FM in Rock Island, Illinois. Her stories have aired nationally on All Things Considered, Morning Edition and Marketplace. 

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Hebert family / WWNO

For many in south Louisiana flooding is a part of daily life. You buy flood insurance, plan ahead and have a place to stay if there’s a big hurricane. But the floods this summer in and around Baton Rouge took a lot of people by surprise. Many of them had moved away from the coast after previous storms, and never thought it would happen there.

Louisiana is losing its coast at a rapid rate because of rising sea levels, development and sinking marshland. Officials are trying to rebuild those marshes and the wetlands, but much of the coast can't be saved. This makes Louisiana's history an unwitting victim. As land disappears and the water creeps inland, ancient archaeology sites are washing away, too.

Richie Blink was born and raised in Plaquemines Parish, La. — way down south of New Orleans along the Mississippi River. Now he works for the National Wildlife Federation.

Tegan Wendland / WWNO

As Louisiana’s coast continues to wash away, small towns close to the water are more and more at risk. Lots of people have moved further inland. Yet the towns themselves not only remain, they often defiantly insist that they’re sticking around. WWNO’s Coastal Desk is exploring the idea of “retreat” - who’s thinking about it, and who’s not.

Tegan Wendland / WWNO

The state is working hard to protect its’ disappearing coast - officials have come up with all sorts of solutions, from planting marshes to building levees. Some of these techniques are tried and tested - we know what happens when we build a levee. But in the state’s haste to do everything it can to save the coast, some of its approaches are a little more experimental.

Tegan Wendland / WWNO

Louisiana is investing millions of dollars to protect what wetlands are left along the coast. Also building diversions and barrier islands to protect people’s homes and livelihoods. But the truth is, ever since Katrina, many coastal towns have been shrinking faster, on their own.

This week on All Things New Orleans, the mayor’s proposed city budget leaves some out – like the public defender’s office. Also, a deep dive into how an amendment into the state’s marriage law might make it harder for immigrants to get married; and a look at how teachers are talking to their students about the presidential elections. 

The deadline to apply for funding under the state Shelter at Home program is this Friday, October 21st.

The program provides up to $15,000 for basic repairs allowing residents to live in in their homes as they continue the rebuilding process. Ten thousand people have already benefited from the program. 

Eligible repairs include weatherproofing, securing broken doors and windows, and a safety inspection of wiring and plumbing. Money for temporary appliances such as small refrigerators and microwaves is also available.

Verdin family

Every five years, the state revamps its master plan to restore coastal Louisiana. This year, they’re hosting community meetings in coastal areas to tell people about master plan updates for 2017.

The Coastal Restoration and Protection Authority’s master plan is in the process of being updated, which happens every five years. The new plan includes “non structural” projects – like elevation, flood proofing, and even relocating people. In order to get local input, CPRA officials are hosting a series of community conversations along the coast.

Facebook photos compiled by takepart.com / takepart.com

This week on All Things New Orleans, City Council is expected to make its first vote on regulating short-term rentals, we’ll hear from both sides. We’ll take a look at how crowdfunding has changed the nature of disaster relief in light of the floods in south Louisiana.

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