Coastal Desk

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.

Jessica Rosgaard / WWNO

The Louisiana Office of Community Development has wrapped up a series of seven meetings in flood-affected regions of the state. The meetings offered residents an opportunity to learn about allocation plans for the initial $438 million installment of federal flood recovery funding. At a meeting in Baton Rouge many attended hoping they'd find help, but left disappointed.

Mental Health, Post-Disaster

Dec 21, 2016
Della Hasselle / WWNO

Beyond the tangible needs - like housing, and infrastructure - there’s a mental health component to disaster recovery. Traumatic experiences carry an emotional and psychological cost, and many victims continue to struggle long after their homes have been rebuilt.

But as WWNO’s Della Hasselle reports, local charities are available - providing counseling and assistance to help people rebuild their lives, and emerge from trauma stronger.

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.

Jesse Hardman / WWNO

Thousands of Louisiana flood victims are still living in hotels as part of FEMAs Temporary Shelter Assistance program.

On the list of FEMA relief options, the hotel vouchers are meant as a short-term solution -- but four months later, it's still the only option for many people who can't return home.

Jessica Rosgaard / WWNO

Community meetings are scheduled in seven parishes across Louisiana through December 20th.

Residents will have an opportunity to review proposed flood recovery programs, and talk to officials in charge of coordinating the recovery efforts.

Hosted by the Louisiana Office of Community Development, the meetings are part of a public comment period for the state’s action plan, which includes assistance programs for homeowners, renters, and small businesses.

Public meetings are scheduled as follows:

Jessica Rosgaard / WWNO

Louisiana’s second flood recovery funding request has fallen short on Capitol Hill.

Legislation currently under consideration in Congress will fund the federal government through the end of April. It includes $1.4 billion in flood relief for Louisiana.

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.

Now through December 7th, FEMA is offering free rebuilding information at three hardware stores in the Greater Baton Rouge area.

Mitigation experts will be available to answer questions about repairing and rebuilding homes to make them stronger and safer.

Stop in between 8am and 6pm to visit the FEMA outreach table at the following locations:

Price Building Materials 7835 Airline Highway, Baton Rouge

The Home Depot 2255 Home Depot Drive, Denham Springs

The Home Depot 6600 Main St, Zachary

Eve Troeh/WWNO

It's been over 100 days since floodwaters rose up to the rooftops in parts of Baton Rouge, La. The so-called 1,000-year flood hit neighborhoods that had never seen such a disaster. But to some flood victims, it was all too familiar - those who moved to Baton Rouge from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina about a decade ago.

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