Travis Lux

Coastal Reporter

Travis is WWNO's coastal reporter. His reporting has covered a wide range of topics -- from science and health to arts and culture. His stories have aired on local public radio stations and national shows.

Before joining WWNO, Travis reported for Marfa Public Radio in Far West Texas, and for WRKF in Baton Rouge. He he studied Anthropology and Sociology at Rhodes College and radio production at the Transom Story Workshop. 

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Travis Lux / WWNO

For decades, oil and gas companies dug canals through Louisiana's marshes looking for oil and building pipelines.

Those canals are one of the big causes of coastal land loss. Now a handful of parishes are suing the oil and gas companies over that damage.

It seems like filling the canals back in with soil would be a good way to fix the damage, but that's not part of the state's new Coastal Master Plan.

National Hurricane Center

Tropical Storm Harvey made landfall in Southwest Louisiana early Thursday morning and is expected to move diagonally across the state over the next 24 hours as it weakens. Even though the storm is strong enough to damage trees and power lines, Gov. John Bel Edwards says the threat of flooding has decreased.

Sue Lincoln / WRKF

Tropical Storm Harvey is expected to make yet another landfall tomorrow morning. This time in Southwest Louisiana.

 

Over the last few days, Harvey has dropped more than 20 inches of rain on parts of Southwest Louisiana. Five hundred people were rescued in the Lake Charles area Monday night due to flooding.

 

Travis Lux / WWNO

New Orleans is in a waiting game as the Gulf Coast braces for Hurricane Harvey to make landfall in Texas Friday night. City officials have not called for evacuations, but coastal parishes are under flood advisories. Vermillion Parish has called for voluntary evacuations and parts of Cameron Parish are under mandatory evacuation.

Tegan Wendland / WWNO

This week on the Coastal News Roundup, we're talking about the recent floods.

Heavy rains flooded portions of New Orleans last weekend. In the days since, we've learned that there are mechanical problems with the city’s drainage equipment — not only with the pumps, but also with the generators that power them.

Tegan Wendland / WWNO

The Sewerage and Water Board generator that caught fire this week is back up and running.

 

There are five generators that power the city’s pumping system on the East Bank — all areas west of the Industrial Canal. Only two were working prior to Saturday’s floods.

 

Wednesday night, one of them caught fire and was rendered inoperable for more than 24 hours. That left the city even more vulnerable to flooding, and prompted two days of school closures. On Thursday both Governor John Bel Edwards and Mayor Mitch Landrieu signed emergency declarations as precautionary measures.

Tegan Wendland / WWNO

The city’s ability to pump water has been diminished once more after a Sewerage and Water Board power generator caught fire Wednesday night.

 

The new outage affects the East Bank of New Orleans — all areas west of the Industrial Canal. That includes neighborhoods like Lakeview, Mid City and Treme, which had already seen the worst of the city’s flooding this weekend.

LSU/LUMCON

The dead zone is an area in the Gulf of Mexico where the oxygen is so low that fish and shrimp can’t live.

 

Scientists say this year’s dead zone is 8,776 square miles now -- about the size of New Jersey. Over the last five years it’s averaged 5,543 square miles.

 

It’s caused largely by agricultural runoff from the Midwest, and brought downstream by the Mississippi River. That runoff is high in nitrates, from fertilizer, which causes algae to bloom. When the algae dies, it sucks oxygen out of the water.

Brett Duke / Nola.com|The Times-Picayune

Every Friday we sit down with coastal reporters at Nola.com/The Times-Picayune to recap the week's coastal news.

This week on the Coastal News Roundup, WWNO's Travis Lux chats with Nola.com/The Times-Picayune's Sara Sneath. They talk about a big, new model of the Mississippi River at LSU, then head to Vermillion Parish for a case study on what can happen in the absence of a comprehensive levee system.

Tegan Wendland / WWNO

A federal audit says FEMA should stop sending money to the City of New Orleans for repairing road and water-system damage sustained during hurricanes Katrina and Rita almost 12 years ago.

 

FEMA disagrees with the findings, and the city plans to press forward with repairs.

 

In order to get money from FEMA to repair its streets and sewer lines, city officials had to prove the damage was caused directly by hurricanes Katrina and Rita. After reviewing documents and consulting with engineers, FEMA agreed. It pledged to give the city $2.04 billion in December 2015.

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