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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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.

Arthur A. Allen (public domain)

For decades, people assumed the ivory-billed woodpecker was extinct. The last confirmed sighting was in north Louisiana in the 1940s, but rumors of its existence persisted -- giving the bird a controversial reputation and a kind of mythic status.

 

Now, a ragtag team of birders is trying to prove everyone wrong: that the ivory-bill still lives in the woods of Louisiana. Thanks to some new technology, the team thinks they’re closer than ever before.

 

 

Travis Lux / WWNO

Towns along the Upper Mississippi River are dealing with some of the worst flooding they’ve ever seen. Busted levees. Flooded downtowns. What does that mean for us in Louisiana? When should we be concerned, and when should we not be?

WWNO’s Travis Lux called up Jeff Graschel, hydrologist at the Lower Mississippi River Forecast Center in Slidell, Louisiana to get those answers, and more, for this week’s Coastal News Roundup.

 

Travis Lux / WWNO

The Army Corps of Engineers expects to open the Bonnet Carre Spillway Friday afternoon.

Located upriver from New Orleans, the Bonnet Carre Spillway acts as a release valve for the Mississippi River. When the water reaches a flow of 1.25 million cubic feet per second, the Corps opens the spillway to divert some of that water into Lake Pontchartrain.

Travis Lux / WWNO

Hundreds of advocates gathered in New Orleans Tuesday evening to show support for a set of environmental goals aimed at addressing climate change and inequality known as the Green New Deal.

Tuesday’s event was less about specific policy details, and more about prioritizing black and indigenous voices as those policies start to take shape.

Travis Lux / WWNO

From flooding to commerce to recreation -- the Mississippi River poses all kinds of challenges and opportunities for those who live along its banks.

Travis Lux, WWNO Coastal Reporter, and Sara Sneath, environment reporter for Nola.com | The Times-Picayune, spent this past week traveling along the river with a group of journalists from around the country. The trip was made possible by the Institute for Journalism and Natural Resources. St. Louis, Memphis, Vicksburg -- all the way down to the river’s mouth.

The reporters’ big takeaway? The river impacts a lot of people in a lot of different ways.

Tech. Sgt. Adrian Cadiz / U.S. Air Force

During the BP oil spill in 2010, responders used chemical dispersants to break up the oil. Recent studies have questioned both the safety and efficacy of those chemicals. Other studies have suggested that those concerns are overblown.

So which is it? Are dispersants dangerous? Or are they not? And why is it so hard to figure out?

This week on the Coastal News Roundup, environment reporter Tristan Baurick from Nola.com | The Times Picayune, sorts it all out with WWNO’s Travis Lux.

shannonpatrick17 / Wikimedia Commons

President Trump signed two executive orders on Wednesday aimed at making it easier for oil and gas companies to build pipelines.

In recent years, some states - like New York - have prevented pipelines from being built by claiming the oil and gas they move could threaten nearby waterways.

One of Trump’s executive orders focuses on speeding up pipeline projects by making it harder for states to stop them on environmental grounds. It asks the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to review how states apply environmental rules to pipelines.

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