Flyover: Down the Mississippi River
Archived Episodes Available at flyoverradio.org
Last week WWNO took part in a one-of-a-kind radio series with Minnesota Public Radio: a week of live one-hour radio programs about the waterway that unites Mid-America, the Mississippi River. Originating from Minnesota, Iowa, and right here in Louisiana, “Flyover: Down the Mississippi River” introduced listeners to the issues and concerns that come with Americans’ intensive use of the great river, including agricultural runoff that causes the “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico, to Louisiana’s vanishing coastal wetlands.
All five segments are available now at flyoverradio.org.
Early in the week, for example, Louisiana listeners learned about the good intentions of numerous farmers upriver to control the nutrient-laden rain runoff that creates the annual dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico. We also learned about the obstacles to widespread adoption of the farming approaches that would reduce this river pollution. Callers kept Flyover host Kerri Miller and her producers busy with phoned-in questions and opinions, and Louisianans were prominent among them.
Later in the week, listeners up north learned how that dead zone interferes with the domestic seafood harvest and challenges the livelihood of Louisiana’s independent shrimpers, oystermen, and fishermen. And they also heard about coastal land loss—how an expensive and complicated plan for restoration and flood prevention cannot preserve everyone’s homes, businesses, and way of life, forcing relocation for a growing number of people.
The series culminated in a town hall discussion at the Larose Civic Center, deep in Lafourche Parish. MPR News host Kerri Miller moderated the discussion among members of the live audience, broadcast Friday July 20 on WWNO and KTLN as well as numerous stations Mid-America. Four invited participants helped introduce the issues surrounding coastal land loss to the far-ranging listening audience:
Lance Nacio, a Larose native of Filipino and Native American ancestry who is a shrimper and coastal advocate
Brenda Dardar Rochichaux, a Raceland resident and former chief of the United Houma Nation
Donald Bogen, co-director of Bayou Interfaith Shared Community Organizing, who grew up in Thibodaux on land now underwater
Dr. Denise J. Reed, a Montegut resident and internationally recognized researcher on coastal marsh sustainability who has played a key role in developing the State’s Coastal Master Plan.
“Flyover: Down the Mississippi River” has been an innovation for all the radio organizations involved. The series was produced by MPR News and American Public Media’s “Water Main” initiative, in collaboration with New Orleans Public Radio and Iowa Public Radio. Local broadcast was supported by Canal Barge Company and the Tulane University ByWater Institute. WWNO’s coastal news reporting is supported by the Greater New Orleans Foundation, the Foundation for Louisiana, and the Walton Family Foundation.