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WWNO To Examine Coastal Land Loss In New Series


Rising sea levels threaten communities on every American coastline, but none more so than Louisiana’s Gulf Coast, where every hour a football field’s worth of marsh disappears.

On Monday May 13, WWNO — New Orleans Public Radio, will begin a series of features examining the causes of the vanishing coast, the impact on the state and the nation, and possible remedies. The Louisiana Coast: Last Call will be reported by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Bob Marshall, who also covers environmental issues for New Orleans area public-interest newsroom The Lens, and will be produced by award-winning local radio producer Fred Kasten.

“Rising sea levels and subsiding coastal lands present an alarming threat not only to Louisiana’s people, economy, and culture, but also to the national economy and energy infrastructure,” said WWNO General Manager Paul Maassen. “We feel that public radio can help people here and beyond Louisiana to understand the issues and ready themselves and their elected officials for the big decisions ahead.”

As the magnitude of global sea level rise has become better understood, coastal land loss has become an urgent concern, with scientists and public officials pondering what land can be protected or rebuilt that the rising Gulf will not wash away. The Louisiana Coast: Last Call examines these issues from the point of view of leading scientists, historians, public officials, fishermen and other stakeholders in the battle to save as much of the Southeast Louisiana coast as possible.

The Louisiana Coast: Last Call will begin airing Monday, May 13, 2013 — with a new 8-minute segment each morning that week at 7:20 a.m. during Morning Edition. These episodes will examine the causes of the coast’s dire state and what steps can be undertaken to reduce the damage and the threat to coastal communities.

After the initial week, a total of ten more episodes will air weekly on Mondays in May and June, and then resume on a monthly basis in August. These features will examine Louisiana’s 2012 Master Plan for a Sustainable Coast, with leading scientists and analysts assessing the plan’s prospects for success. In addition to the broadcast reports, we will provide a substantial amount of complementary information, including maps, charts, videos and photos, right here at


Monday, May 13 – The Shape We’re In Now: A clear-eyed assessment of just how dire the situation for Southeast Louisiana is right now.

Tuesday, May 14 – How We Got This Way – Part 1: A look back at how nature, over thousands of years, built the Southeast Louisiana landscape — and how several hundred years of engineered flood protection has starved it.

Wednesday, May 15 – How We Got This Way – Part 2: The role of oil and gas exploration and extraction in marsh erosion and subsidence.

Thursday, May 16 – How We Got This Way – Part 3: How documented sea level rise works in tandem with the delta’s natural subsidence to threaten coastal Louisiana.

Friday, May 17 Can This Be Fixed? How?: Louisiana’s 2012 Master Plan for a Sustainable Coast is widely acclaimed as “the best science to ever come out of the state,” but just what does it propose, how achievable are its goals, and where will the $50 billion in needed funding come from?

Beginning on Monday, May 20, a new 8-minute segment will air each Monday morning at  7:20 a.m. for five weeks (May 20, May 27, June 3, June 10, June 17).  After a June-July break, the series will continue with five monthly episodes beginning on Monday, August 5.

Funding for The Louisiana Coast: Last Call comes from the Greater New Orleans Foundation and its “Coastal 5+1 Initiative.” This initiative aims to help community leaders in St. Bernard, Plaquemines, lower Jefferson, Terrebonne, Lafourche and Orleans Parishes to respond to the challenges presented by eroding coastal lands, failing ecosystems, and global climate change.

About WWNO

WWNO — New Orleans Public Radio is the NPR member radio station for New Orleans and thirteen parishes of southeast Louisiana, broadcasting on 89.9 FM — and on KTLN 90.5 FM in the Houma-Thibodaux area — as a public service of the University of New Orleans. WWNO broadcasts local and national news, information, music and entertainment, including a 24-hour classical channel on HD channel WWNO2, and 24-hour jazz on WWNO3. A growing audience turns to WWNO for trusted, balanced news, thought-provoking analysis, and lively high quality entertainment, making WWNO one of the top stations in metro New Orleans. All of WWNO’s programs, including its expanding local news coverage, is available online at

About the Greater New Orleans Foundation

The Greater New Orleans Foundation is the community foundation serving the 13-parish region of metropolitan New Orleans. The Foundation aims to create a resilient, sustainable, vibrant community in which individuals and families flourish, and in which the special character of the New Orleans region and its people is preserved, celebrated and given the means to develop.

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