coastal desk

Travis Lux / WWNO

Last August, several days of heavy rain flooded the Baton Rouge area. From Baton Rouge to Denham Springs to Gonzales -- rising waters flooded out around one hundred thousand homes and caused billions of dollars worth of damage. Recovery is ongoing, even nine months later.

 

The Baton Rouge area isn’t the only part of the state still struggling this many months out. The damage rippled out across the state -- all the way down to the tiny town of Leeville, near Grand Isle, along the coast.

 

Delayed Restoration Project Breaks Ground

May 16, 2017
Travis Lux / WWNO

The Army Corps will use sand and silt from the bottom of the Mississippi River to build new marshes. The restoration project has been delayed for several years, but is set to break ground next month.

Flickr/Washington State House Republicans's photostream (CC BY-ND 2.0)

On Monday, Congress unveiled a spending bill that would fund the federal government through September. It includes $9 million for coastal restoration projects in Louisiana.

 

In an effort to help the state fight coastal land loss, the Army Corps of Engineers sometimes uses the mud it dredges from from navigation channels and the Mississippi River to rebuild marshes. It’s the Corps’ job to keep the river passable, so in these cases it reuses the material that it digs up.

New Orleans City Park / cityparkgolf.com

City parks are good for water runoff. Open green areas soak up rain and trees wick it down into the water table. So in a wet city like New Orleans, City Park is an important asset.

 

WWNO’s Tegan Wendland sat down with CEO Bob Becker to learn about how water management was considered in the park’s new golf course. The park is independent - it doesn’t get money from the city - and Becker says they needed the $26 million course to cover a quarter of the park’s budget.

Tegan Wendland / WWNO

As extreme weather brings more natural disasters, like flooding and wildfires, more Americans are experiencing them in their own backyard or seeing them play out on TV. As a result, preparing for disasters might be more mainstream than in the past. National Geographic’s Doomsday Preppers show is hugely popular. Families used to build bomb shelters; now people are packing emergency bags for the next big weather event. It’s become big business.

Jesse Hardman / WWNO

There was a lot of talk of what it would cost to make people WHOLE again after last summer’s devastating floods. And while bureaucrats have searched for a way to quantify a complete recovery for Louisiana residents, Jesse Hardman reports on how many flood affected families are simply going about finding their own ways forward.

Wallis Watkins / WWNO/WRKF

Even before the March and August floods hit Louisiana, the state faced a shortage of affordable rental housing. That shortage grew as homes flooded and became uninhabitable. On Tuesday, Governor John Bel Edwards announced an initiative to help fill that need. Wallis Watkins reports.

Wallis Watkins / WWNO/WRKF

In September 2016, the Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded East Baton Rouge Parish an $11 million grant to assist with flood recovery. Thursday night, Mayor Sharon West Broome's office proposed a new plan on how to spend it. Wallis Watkins reports.

Gonzales, Louisiana; August 2016
Jessica Rosgaard / WWNO

It’s been nearly six months since the historic flooding in southeast Louisiana. Since then, Congress has authorized $1.6 billion for the state to help people repair homes and businesses. But that’s well short of the estimated $8 billion in damage done. Wallis Watkins spoke with some flood survivors trying to navigate the recovery process.

About 15 people gathered for the Coastal Desk tour of the Port of New Orleans on February 10.
Jason Saul / WWNO

CLICK ON THE SLIDESHOW TO SEE THE IMAGES

Last week nearly 15 New Orleans Public Radio listeners joined our Coastal Desk reporters for a tour of the Port of New Orleans.

On February 10 we boarded The Roy S. Kelley, a large boat owned by the Port, and toured the operations along the Mississippi River -- from New Orleans Cold Storage adjacent to the Fly park Uptown, all the way to the Industrial Canal inlet separating the Bywater neighborhood from the Lower 9th Ward. Paul Matthews, the Community Affairs Manager for the Port of New Orleans, lead the tour and answered listeners' questions.

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