Louisiana Flood Reporting

Catastrophic flooding in August of 2016 submerged homes, businesses and schools in south Louisiana. The unnamed storm dumped three times as much rain as Hurricane Katrina — with totals exceeding nearly 2 feet. The Amite and Comite rivers reached record levels. During the aftermath, 30,000 people were rescued from their homes, 11,000 sought temporary housing in shelters, and 20 parishes were designated disaster areas. 

The leadership at WWNO quickly recognized that recovery would be a long process, and that the community would need to stay informed. So we launched the Louisiana Public Radio Partnership — a content-sharing platform spreading across South Louisiana, serving WWNO (New Orleans), WRKF (Baton Rouge), and KRVS (Lafayette). Has disaster recovery of this magnitude improved since Hurricane Katrina? Have our government officials and elected leaders learned from the mistakes of the past, or are we making the same mistakes? And what can be done to mitigate damage from future severe weather events? We're examining these questions, and more, in our reporting.

Della Hasselle / WWNO

Extreme flooding caused major agricultural damage throughout South Louisiana in 2016. Now, struggling farmers are hoping to get help from a $10 million recovery grant approved by Congress this year.


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.

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.

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.

Della Hasselle

Traumatic experiences like major floods can have psychological ramifications. Since Hurricane Katrina, FEMA has sent money to Louisiana to provide counseling for survivors struggling with poor mental health every time a disaster hits the state.

A program called Louisiana Spirit has been providing that service to victims near Baton Rouge since the floods last August. But as the one-year anniversary approaches, the program is winding down — leaving some victims in the lurch.

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