Travis Lux

Coastal Reporter

As Coastal Reporter, Travis Lux covers flood protection, coastal restoration, infrastructure, the energy and seafood industries, and the environment. In this role he's reported on everything from pipeline protests in the Atchafalaya swamp, to how shrimpers cope with low prices. He had a big hand in producing the series, New Orleans: Ready Or Not?, which examined how prepared New Orleans is for a future with more extreme weather. In 2017, Travis co-produced two episodes of TriPod: New Orleans at 300 examining New Orleans' historic efforts at flood protection. One episode, NOLA vs Nature: The Other Biggest Flood in New Orleans History, was recognized with awards from the Public Radio News Directors and the New Orleans Press Club. His stories often find a wider audience on national programs, too, like NPR's Morning Edition, WBUR's Here and Now, and WHYY's The Pulse.

Before joining WWNO, Travis reported for Marfa Public Radio in Far West Texas, and for WRKF in Baton Rouge. He studied Anthropology and Sociology at Rhodes College and radio production at the Transom Story Workshop.

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Travis Lux / WWNO

Louisiana’s Coastal Master Plan is the state’s guide for restoring its disappearing coastline and defending cities from rising seas. It includes things like levees and rebuilding marshes. But how does the state decide where to build projects? How does it decide what kind of project to build? And how is climate change considered?

All month long, WWNO is teaming up with Louisiana Public Broadcasting to bring you a special series called Sinking Louisiana. This week, WWNO’s Travis Lux talks talks with Bren Haase, Executive Director of the state’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA), about how the state makes big decisions that impact lots of people. They spoke at the CPRA headquarters in Baton Rouge.

Travis Lux / WWNO

The flooding Mississippi River is taking a major toll on Louisiana’s commercial fisheries.

Many of the state’s fisheries, like shrimp and oysters, need a mix of salty and fresh water to grow properly. But because of the months-long flooding on the Mississippi River and the opening of the Bonnet Carre Spillway -- through which water has been flowing for more than 70 days this year -- many of those areas are now too fresh.

LUMCON

The dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico is predicted to be the second biggest in history, according to a new forecast from the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON).

The dead zone is mostly caused by agricultural run-off from the Mississippi River; nutrients from fertilizers like nitrogen and phosphorus enter the water, causing algae to bloom once it slows and heats up in the Gulf of Mexico. When the algae decays, it uses up oxygen in the water which can stress and kill some sea creatures. The condition of reduced oxygen is known as hypoxia.

Kevin Gautreaux / LPB

We hear a lot about how the Louisiana coast is disappearing. The state has lost about 2,000 square miles of coastal marsh since the 1930s. One of the biggest reasons: subsidence. What is subsidence? Why does it happen and what can we do to stop it?

Travis Lux / WWNO

The Army Corps of Engineers is expected to open the Morganza Flood Control Structure on Sunday to relieve flooding on the Mississippi River. For those who live and work downstream of the spillway, that means it’s time to get ready.

For this story, we’re going to take a trip down the floodway, north to south. We’ll start in the town of Morganza, and end up down near the Gulf, talking to people along the way.

Travis Lux / WWNO

The Army Corps of Engineers has delayed the opening of the Morganza Flood Control Structure for a second time.

The Corps was originally set to begin opening the structure on Sunday, June 2nd, but later postponed until Thursday, June 6th. Now the Corps is aiming for Sunday, June 9th.

Officials say changing river forecasts are responsible for both delays. The river is not expected to reach the trigger point for operation until a few days later.

LA SAFE

Living on the Louisiana coast means living with the threat of flooding and extreme weather. But a changing climate and disappearing coast make predicting risk hard. So the state is trying to help.

Louisiana’s Office of Community Development has released a big report full of possible ways that different levels of government might respond -- like exploring voluntary buyout programs for homes in flood-prone areas.

Wikimedia

Though the official decision will not be made until next week, the Army Corps of Engineers expects to open the Morganza Spillway as soon as June 2nd.

Located upriver from Baton Rouge, the Spillway has only been used twice before: during the floods of 1973 and 2011.

 

Whereas the Bonnet Carre Spillway relieves pressure on the Mississippi River by diverting excess water into Lake Pontchartrain, Morganza eventually empties into the Atchafalaya Basin.

NOAA

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts a “near-normal” hurricane season this year.

NOAA’s 2019 hurricane season outlook, released Thursday, predicts anywhere from 9 to 15 named storms -- 4 to 8 of which could become hurricanes, and 2 to 4 of which could become major hurricanes (category 3, 4, or 5).

The average number of named storms is 12 per year, which usually includes about 3 major hurricanes.

finchlake2000 / Flickr

A seafood labeling bill is one step closer to becoming law after sailing through a legislative committee meeting on Wednesday.

The bill, HB 335, would require any Louisiana restaurant that serves shrimp or crawfish to say what country that crustacean comes from.

State Representative Truck Gisclair (D-Larose) filed the bill. He says it’s all about consumer awareness: letting people know what they’re putting in their bodies and where it’s from.

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