Coastal Desk

Travis Lux / WWNO

Residents and a pair of environmental activist groups are suing St. James Parish over an alleged secret meeting that plaintiffs claim violated Louisiana Open Meetings Law.

Wanhua Chemical US Operation, LLC has proposed construction of a polyurethane facility on a 250 acre tract of land in Convent, Louisiana. On May 20th, 2019, the St. James Planning Commission voted 5-3 to approve the company’s industrial land use application for the site.

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Claire Bangser

Louisiana’s coast is a unique mix of cultures. For hundreds of years Europeans, Africans and Native Americans have lived off the land and water. But that land is disappearing, battered by storms and rising seas, and people are migrating north.

Now, the state is trying to preserve some local traditions before they disappear.

CPRA

The Water Institute is a Baton Rouge-based research institution that works with the state and the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority on issues like land loss and river diversions. One of its former scientists is now under investigation by the FBI.

The Times Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate broke the story. WWNO’s Tegan Wendland talked with reporters Della Hasselle and Bryn Stole about the implications for coastal research.

Travis Lux / WWNO

Louisiana’s Department of Health is shutting down several oyster harvesting areas due to low salinity caused by a steady influx of freshwater from the Bonnet Carre Spillway. 

The spillway, which diverts flood water from the Mississippi River into Lake Pontchartrain, has been open for more than 95 days this year. That’s kept a steady stream of fresh water flowing into areas where oysters grow.

Travis Lux / WWNO

The commercial fishing industry on the Gulf Coast has seen two major disasters in the last 15 years: Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill. Now, some fear we’re on the cusp of a third. The culprit: historic flooding from the Mississippi River.

Malcolm Comeaux / louisianafolklife.org

As the coast continues to wash away and people move north, to higher ground, traditions are being lost: gumbo recipes, traditional basket weaving, French songs and stories. Now the state is trying to do something to preserve them.

All month long, WWNO is teaming up with Louisiana Public Broadcasting to bring you a special series called Sinking Louisiana. This week, WWNO’s Tegan Wendland talks with Maida Owens, director of the Louisiana Folklife Program.

Angela Chalk

If you live in a city it’s easy to think of Louisiana’s coastal land loss problem as out-of-sight, out-of-mind. But every day the coast is creeping closer and closer to New Orleans, and as sea level rise, more extreme storms and a deteriorating coast bring more flooding, some city-dwellers are trying to adapt to the changes.

Travis Lux / WWNO

Over the last few years, Denka Performance Elastomer, a chemical plant in St. John the Baptist Parish, has been in trouble with the EPA for potential emissions violations. Now, Louisiana’s Department of Environmental Quality is planning to file a lawsuit against the company.

New Orleans Advocate reporter Della Hasselle has been reporting on this story, and spoke with WWNO’s Travis Lux about what we know, and where things might go from here.

CPRA

Local officials hope a major levee project along the central Louisiana coast is one step closer to receiving federal funding.

Morganza to the Gulf is a 98-mile levee project that, if completed, would curl around several communities and protect them from hurricane storm surges. It’s one of the biggest and most expensive projects in Louisiana’s Coastal Master Plan.

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