Coastal Rundown: Austin Badon, Marsh Buggies And Golden Meadow

Jul 25, 2014

Welcome to the Coastal Rundown, a new series exploring the people, places, gear, facts and suggested resources across the Gulf Coast.


Austin Badon overlooking the wetlands on Paris Road in New Orleans East
Credit Jesse Hardman / WWNO

Meet: Austin Badon

City Council Representative, District 100

State Rep. (D), Chairman of the House Education Committee

Motto: “Don’t wait for your ship to come in, swim out to it.”

“We’re close to the coast, but yet we’re not on the coast. And we can’t relate to Morgan city or Houma or Grand Isle because a lot of people in New Orleans have never even been to those locations — they haven’t seen the water up to their doorsteps. They haven’t seen it firsthand. I mean, in the city you’re surrounded by concrete and asphalt and skyscrapers and Superdomes and buses and cars and interstates, and you become oblivious to it.”


The Marsh Buggy

A marsh buggy sitting in the yard of Marsh Buggies Inc. on Engineers Road.
Credit Jesse Hardman / WWNO

Don't worry, we didn't know what it was either. A Marsh Buggy is an amphibious vehicle whose wide tracks enable them to operate in soft, marshy terrain. These guys were originally created to help oil companies explore hard-to-reach coastal places. Now it’s being used in coastal restoration projects, mostly for dredging rivers and canals, and using that sediment to create new marsh.

We met the folks at Marsh Buggies Inc. on Engineers Road who design and build this machinery:


Jaime Autin, third generation Marsh Buggies Inc. employee, and some of her construction crew.
Credit Jesse Hardman / WWNO

Here is a buggy in action:

RESTORATION NEAR YOU: There are a lot of restoration projects currently in progress. Here is one of them:

Golden Meadow Marsh

A composite of two Google Earth images of Golden Meadow Marsh, the left from 2010, the right from 2014. Restoration work was done in those four years to help rebuild the marsh.
Credit South Lafourche Levee District

Since 2010, the South Lafourche Parish Council has been using funds to rebuild the Golden Meadow marsh to reduce wave action and protect the adjacent levee. In June, over $1 million has been dedicated to create 30 more acres of marsh in the area to further protect the levee and surrounding land. The above photo is a composite of two Google Earth images, one from 2010 and one from 2014 to show the progress so far. The South Lafourche Levee District hopes to continue this project beyond the upcoming 30 acre expansion, as Golden Meadow is an area that will always be susceptible to losing marsh.


Listen: More Than 85% of the Seafood Americans Eat is Imported:

Marketplace’s Kai Rysdall talks with Paul Greenberg, author of "American Catch: The Fight for Our Local Seafood". The book focuses on the fact that although the majority of our seafood is imported, America fisheries export about one-third of what they catch. Greenberg wrote this editorial for the New York Times, and also appeared on Fresh Air with Terri Gross.

Read: North Carolina’s Battle Over Climate Change:

The Washington Post uncovered a battle over climate change in the name of preserving beachfront home values.

Watch: Vanishing Island:

Filmmaker Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee made an "op-doc" for the New York Times that profiles residents of the Isle de Jean Charles in Louisiana.