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.

Support for the Coastal Desk comes from the Walton Family Foundation, the Coypu Foundation, the Greater New Orleans Foundation, and local listeners.

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Jess Clark / WWNO

Evacuations are underway in areas outside of Louisiana's levee system ahead of Tropical Storm Nate. Nate is barreling through the Caribbean on a path towards the Gulf of Mexico. Forecasters say it's likely to grow into a Category 1 hurricane before it slams into the Gulf Coast Saturday night. Residents across New Orleans are making last-minute preparations before the storm hits.

Louisiana's Severe Repetitive Loss Problem

Oct 5, 2017

Properties that flood over and over again are a longstanding problem for FEMA and the National Flood Insurance Program. Around 30,000 of the most frequently flooded homes in the country make up less than a percent of the total insured pool, but pull down around 10 percent of total claim dollars.

Wallis Watkins / WWNO

For 17 years, residents in parts of East Baton Rouge, Ascension and Livingston parishes have been paying a local tax to help fund construction of the Comite River Diversion Canal, designed to lower the flood risk of nearby homeowners. Then in 2016, record flooding hit the region — causing billions in damage. The incident only ignited the demand for answers from frustrated taxpayers.

Tyler Antrup with the city’s Office of Resilience, Loyola law professor Rob Verchick, architect David Waggonner and assistant inspector general Nadiene Van Dyke. It was moderated by history professor Eric Hardy.
Tegan Wendland / WWNO

The New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board has been under fire since the city’s pumping system failed and caused major flooding in August.  

Travis Lux / WWNO

Floods this summer revealed that New Orleans’ drainage system hasn’t been working at full capacity. Since then, the city has been scrambling to improve the system in a number of ways — from repairing drainage pumps to clearing catch basins on the street.

 

This weekend, the city will teach citizens how to clean catch basins themselves. They’re calling it Adopt-A-Catch Basin.

 

Catch basins are those grated gutters on the sides of the road. When it rains, water flows through those grates before it’s pumped out of the city.

Molly Peterson / WWNO

Around the country, hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent to buy back individual homes from people who have flooded repeatedly. But buying out a whole neighborhood is uncommon. Louisiana's 2016 flood seems to be changing that for two communities. In Pointe Coupee and Ascension Parishes, a buyout program first used in neighborhoods after Superstorm Sandy may offer a new option to homeowners who have lived with escalating risk for decades.

Travis Lux / WWNO

WWNO’s Travis Lux sat down with Nola.com/The Times-Picayune’s Sara Sneath to talk about the week in coastal news.

 

This week — boil advisories, stuff washed ashore by hurricanes, and a new report on how shrimpers might adjust to coastal restoration.

 

Coastal News Roundup: The Latest On The Tiny Bug Eating The Marsh

Sep 15, 2017
Travis Lux / WWNO

An invasive insect plaguing the coast has killed thousands of acres of tall marsh grass that bind our fragile wetlands together. Coastal researchers worry that the threat could increase the rate of coastal erosion and destroy fish habitat. Fishermen are worried.

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.

Tegan Wendland / WWNO

With much of the Texas coast devastated by tropical storm Harvey, Louisiana continues to send help. Lake Charles has become a staging ground for relief efforts.

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