Coastal Desk

Southeast Louisiana is sinking under the waves faster than any coastal landscape in the world. With so much at stake for Louisiana and the nation, WWNO has made coastal news a priority.

Since mid-2014 our Coastal Desk reporting team has been producing frequent news reports and in-depth features covering coastal erosion and restoration; hurricane protection; offshore energy and other coastal businesses; wildlife and fisheries impacts; and coastal communities and culture.

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Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM)

The federal government held an auction Wednesday for oil and gas drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico. The Trump administration is pushing for an expansion of offshore drilling, and there has been a lot of anticipation around this sale — the largest ever in the Gulf, with 77-million acres up for grabs.

Coastal News Roundup: Refinery Flare Edition

Mar 16, 2018
Roy Luck / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Last weekend, New Orleanians noticed a big fireball coming from the Chalmette Refining refinery. Some worried there had been an explosion, but it turns out it was a really big flare — a fiery plume that burns off excess stuff created during the oil refining process.

Brett Duke / | The Times-Picayune

This week on the Coastal News Roundup: The Mighty Mississippi was particularly mighty this week. The Army Corps of Engineers opened the Bonnet Carret Spillway to ease some of the pressure as the river rises. Also this week, new research reveals that thousands of Coast Guard members were harmed by the chemicals used to clean up the BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster. 

Travis Lux / WWNO

The Army Corps of Engineers opened the Bonnet Carre Spillway to a big crowd Thursday morning, in order to relieve pressure on Mississippi River levees downstream.


The Army Corps estimates 500-600 people showed up to watch the Corps open the Spillway. Katie Huffaker drove all the way from Houma. She homeschools her kids and thought it would make for a good lesson in geography.  

Travis Lux / WWNO

The company behind the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline has started building a pipeline through South Louisiana. Protesters are disrupting construction, and now a judge has ordered construction in the Atchafalaya Basin to stop while a lawsuit plays out in court.

Travis Lux / WWNO

The Army Corps of Engineers will open the Bonnet Carré Spillway on Thursday to prevent river flooding near New Orleans.


The Mississippi River is rising, as floodwater from the Midwest makes its way south.

Travis Lux / WWNO

This week on the Coastal News Roundup: coastal law. Coastal parishes are suing oil companies, environmental advocates are suing the Army Corps, the Attorney General is also suing the Corps, and there’s been a recent surge in civil lawsuits over the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. It's hard to keep it all straight. It seems that in the struggle to come up with funds to fight coastal land loss, officials are turning to litigation.

WWNO’s Tegan Wendland talked with Chris Dalbom of Tulane’s Institute on Water Resources Law and Policy.

Coastal News Roundup: Times-Picayune Teams With New York Times On Coastal Reporting

Feb 23, 2018
Listening Coast

This week on the Roundup we hear from the whole team at Times-Picayune about a big project they just completed that goes to print Saturday. Coastal reporters Mark Schleifstein, Sara Sneath and Tristan Baurick collaborated with The New York Times on a series about the vulnerability of South Louisiana.

Travis Lux / WWNO

Join WWNO's Coastal Desk for a canoe and kayak trip down Cane Bayou on the Northshore!

One of the coolest things about the Louisiana coast is the way it gradually transitions from cypress swamp into open marsh, and you'll see it firsthand on Cane Bayou. The trip will be led by a master naturalist, who will tell us all about the plants, animals and history of this slice of Louisiana's unique coastal ecosystem. 

Travis Lux / WWNO

The weather is warm, Mardi Gras is over and it’s festival season. That means, time for crawfish boils.


Despite the slow start to crawfish season, officials held a celebration Tuesday to mark the opening of the season. But for the second year in a row, one crawfish got off a little easy.