Delta Dispatches: Conversation with The Times Picayune Coastal Reporting Team

Welcome to the latest episode of Delta Dispatches with hosts Jacques Hebert & Simone Maloz. On this episode of Delta Dispatches, with hosts Jacques Hebert & Simone Maloz. On this episode, Jacques has Times-Picayune hurricane & environment reporters Mark Schleifstein, Sara Sneath and Tristan Baurick join the show to talk with Jacques about coastal reporting.

Below is a transcript of this week’s Delta Dispatches Podcast. Listen to the full recording or subscribe to our feed in iTunes and Google Play.

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Jacques: Hello this is Delta Dispatches. We’re discussing Louisiana’s coast. It’s people, wildlife, and jobs and why restoring it matters. this is Jacques Hebert and I’m sad to say that my partner in crime, Simone Maloz is again traveling to raise awareness across the country for coastal restoration in Louisiana. Today she is on the other side of the Mississippi River, up in Minnesota attending a conference there. So, we missed her but it has been a very busy news day for the coast and for the coastal master plan. In fact, earlier today the Senate Natural Resources Committee heard the master plan and they approved it, sending it to the full Senate Floor for a vote, after which point it will then go to the house. So, I want to remind everyone there’s still a lot of time to go and go to Tell your legislators that you support the master plan, give them feedback, and we’ll keep you posted as the master plan continues to move through the legislature.

But I’m really excited as much as I miss Simone to have a great group of guests with me today. Team of journalists who are at the forefront literally of covering Louisiana’s landless crisis. Some of these journalists working on the coastal environmental team for The Times Picayune, and these include Mark Schleifstein, Sarah Sneath and Tristan Baurick. In January of this year The Times Picayune announced it was creating, or expanding the Louisiana coastal reporting team dedicated to in-depth coverage of the state’s ongoing devastating land loss. The teams led by Mark Schleifstein and news editor Drew Broach. It’ll will include contributions from outdoor reporter Todd Masson, and photographer/videographer Ted Jackson. So, obviously Louisiana’s landless crisis is urgent and severe and there are many, many important angles to cover a story as dynamic as changes in Louisiana’s coast over time. So, I’m very excited to have the group here with me today particularly the first guest we’re going to be speaking to Mark Schleifstein.

So, Mark you’ve been with The Times Picayune for over 30 years. You’ve covered this particular beat probably longer than anyone else, winning three Pulitzer Prizes with colleagues in the process. I think in terms of expertise and knowledge on this issue you are a the league above everyone else. So, what has it been like for you to follow the story of Louisiana’s coast over such a long period of time?

Mark: Well, it’s really has been an education for me. It’s sort of like the continuing college course. Every day I come in and find out that I’m learning something new about what is happening to the coast, and about what we can do to try to change some of the things that have been happening.

Jacques: So, if you had to take a step back today to see where we are, as it relates to our land loss crisis and the efforts we’re trying to undertake out at the state level and other levels to address it. How would you define this current moment in time?

Mark: We’re on the precipice of beginning the process of attempting to reduce the amount of damage on the coast. That’s really where we are. We’ve gone beyond the process of identifying what the problems are and beyond the process of trying to figure out key ways of trying to respond to it. Now, we’re at that point where we know what we need to do. We do actually have some money. The silver lining to the very black cloud of BP has been that the states got at least $10,000,000,000 that it knows what to do with for the first 15 years of the Master Plan process, moving forward from today, and so the states’ already begun building some of those projects, and knows what it can do, and is learning fairly quickly about how to monitor these things and figure out what works and what doesn’t as they move forward.

Jacques: Right. So, we’re in a critical moment midway through this process. We haven’t necessarily solved it, and it’s not getting any better.

Mark: We’re at the beginning of the restoration stage, really. Really in the early stages of that.

Jacques: So, I want to talk about a piece. In 2008, Brian Stelter who is still with The New York Times, at the time called you a prophet of Katrina’s wrath. He was pointing to a story you published in 2002, essentially predicting what would happen if Louisiana were hit by a major hurricane. Of course, as we all know too well, three years later Hurricane Katrina did happen with many of the effects that you described. So, would you say, I guess today, we all know what we went through with Katrina, and how terrible it was, and 10 years ago. Would you say New Orleans and the surrounding areas are better prepared today if we were hit with another storm like Katrina?

Mark: We’re most certainly better prepared. We have a new levee system around the metropolitan New Orleans area that’s going to protect us from a 100 year “event” which is really a storm surge created by a hurricane that has a 1% chance of occurring in any year. That’s a dramatic improvement, especially, because it takes into account modern knowledge of what kinds of hurricanes can occur in the Gulf of Mexico, and modern knowledge about how to build levees, and structures to protect us. However, it’s still not enough and everybody is aware that. The reality is that the levee system protects or our property and not our lives, and so we are still going to have to evacuate in advance of many storms. Even some category one storms, we’re probably going to have to evacuate from the area because these levees, the new ones even, can still be over top by storm surge. That remains one of the problems with this system is that the system, I call it a devil’s bargain, is built to the standards set for insurance by the National Flood Insurance Program which is that “Hundred years storm.” Which is not really a hundred years storm. There’s a 35% chance of that occurring within the lifetime of your 30 year mortgage. that’s a better way of looking at it.

Jacques: Wow, and obviously as we approach the beginning of hurricane season, those the realities become all too clear and when we talk about multiple lines of defense, the last, but possibly most important, line of defense is evacuation.

Mark: Absolutely, and we continue to need to upgrade what we’re doing about evacuation. In the aftermath of Katrina, there were major changes nationally in what is required and what is allowed, including actually taking into account the fact that a lot of people don’t leave because they have they animals. They have pets, and so now the plans actually call for air conditioned trucks to be provided to take animals to shelters outside the area, as well. But the problem is that we need to make sure that those plans are in place every single year and it’s not just our elected officials who need to do that. We as citizens need to do that to make sure that our elected officials are on the ball and haven’t let any balls drop like they did before Katrina. Where there was a similar plan in place and the city of New Orleans school system went bankrupt, and that sort of canceled it because there was no way of getting the school bus drivers to be assured of being there to drive people out.

Jacques: Absolutely, and I’m sure we’ll hear more about that, particularly as June 1st approaches and really the measures that you can take to protect yourself, protect your family and staying informed about evacuation resources. Shifting back a little bit to coastal restoration, in 2007 you published a series called Last Chance: Analyze the importance of taking timely action to address our land loss crisis. 10 years later how would you characterize what’s been done?

Mark: Again, getting back to this is the beginning of the process, really. We are very late in getting the beginning of this process stared. The state has done some of these projects where they’ve had pipelines, and pumped material out to start building wetlands, and that has created land which is a good thing. But the big projects, the sediment diversion projects that would be built, that then can in perpetuity can continue to provide access to the sediment that the river carries. We’re still five or six years away from the completion of those projects. If that early and that remains a problem. Where it’s getting late. The other problem is that I see is that even in 2007, when we did that series, the amount of sea level rise that we were looking at then is not as much as you can expect to see, and we’re now a lot closer to 2010, I mean to 20100. So, we’re going to have to look at how that sea level rise is going to happen during the rest of the century.

Jacques: Absolutely, and a lot of what has happened in that time as relates to sea level rise and the plans for the future as it relates to sediment diversion are somewhat tied up in what’s happening now with the 2017 Master Plan, and then moving that forward. I want to ask for your assessment about that after the break, and I also want to talk a little bit more about this newly expanded coastal reporting team, and actually interview and introduce to our audience some of your new reporters. I know you’re probably really excited to have them on board.

Mark: Sure am.

Jacques: Well all right. Thank you so much for listening this is Jacques Hebert and this is Delta Dispatches. I’m here with Mark Schleifstein and the rest of the Coastal Environmental Reporting Team from The Times Picayune. We’ll be with you back after the break.

Jacques: You’re listening to Delta Dispatches this is Jacques Hebert and I’m back with veteran journalist Mark Schleifstein, as well as Tristan Baurick and Sara Sneath. They comprise The Times Picayune coastal reporting team. I wanted to introduce Tristan and Sarah to our audiences but first, Mark, can you tell us a little bit about the coastal reporting team, why it was formed and what readers can expect to see from you all in the months and years ahead?

Mark: Well sure. The reason the team is formed is because we are on the precipice of trying to put into place what I called the world’s largest environmental experiment using all this money from the BP oil spill. That the state’s going to get $10,000,000,000 just for the state, and there’s a huge amount of money out there for the other states of the Gulf Coast for other projects along the Gulf Coast, and in doing that we felt that there was a need for us to expand our coverage, and so we had the opportunity through the Society of Environmental Journalists. A group that represents environment reporting nationwide around the world to be able to get a grant to fund to reporting positions for what we hope will be for three years to help us do that, and as SEJ’s grant money comes from the Walton Family Foundation.

Jacques: Great, and obviously we explored this on our show already but there are so many angles to this story, and to something as dynamic as Louisiana’s coast and the efforts to restore it. Economic, human, environmental, wildlife, the list goes on and on. So, let’s hear directly from one of the new members of your team Sarah Sneath. Welcome to Delta Dispatches, Sara.

Sara: Thank you.

Jacques: So tell us a little bit about your background and why you are interested in moving down. You’re actually from Kansas and then you were in Texas most recently. So, tell us about your background and what interested you, and this position, and coming down to Louisiana to cover the story?

Sara: Sure, I think what got me in interested environmental journalism from the get go is the fact that I am from Kansas and my grandparents went through the Dust Bowl, and so environmental degradation is something that I can relate to personally because of their stories, and when I was in college I double majored in sociology and I was taking one of these environmental sociology courses. And in doing so I realized that environmental stories are, like you just hit on. They’re public health, they’re infrastructure. They have to deal it environmental injustices like environmental racism. So, there’s a lot going on there and there’s a lot to talk about, and I’m interested in it all.

Jacques: Well, yeah, and I know you’ve been really busy. I’ve been following your coverage and you’ve been reporting on everything from the state’s annual plan, nonstructural projects. Highlighting how fur trappers are being affected by climate change, as well as really fascinating and beautifully photographed piece about a Cambodian fishing community in Buras. So, what have been some of your favorite stories that you’ve covered so far?

Sara: Right, that story that I did about the Cambodian fishermen and women in Buras is definitely is among them and the fur trappers as well. It’s amazing, the diversity that we have on the Louisiana coast and each person in each community is dealing with this problem differently, and it hits them and it affects them in a different way and the way that they adapt to it is different. And I think that those are the stories I want to continue telling moving forward is how it affects each of these communities in a different way. And also we talk about what Louisiana has to lose, or what stands to lose, as far as infrastructure, or as far as this football field every hour. But we also have a lot of cultural reasons, cultural things that we could lose as well.

Jacques: And I’m interested with that community in particular. What did you find, in terms of how either they’re adapting, or how are they handling the challenges that have been put upon them?

Sara: That’s a tough question. They’re really community focused and I think that’s one thing that I’m learning more and more is that these people are coming together and they’re having these conversations as a community, and that’s not … Just like in the story I wrote about how they had built this Buddhist temple and they done it originally with a FEMA tarp which to me is pretty crazy. That they would come together in order to create something really beautiful. The hurricane obviously took a lot of way from them and yet they’re so willing to rebuild with what little they have.

Jacques: And it’s amazing to see the stories of resilience, and community strength, and the reliance on the land and the coast across the board, and so there’s certainly no shortage of those stories for you to explore, I know. I know previously you worked at the Victoria Advocate, is that correct? in Victoria, Texas covering environmental issues. How is it different being in New Orleans and covering what’s going on here compared to you Victoria Texas?

Sara: Right, well there are a couple of similarities. You see some of the same birds and the weather is much the same. It’s hot and they’re cockroaches which I’m not a fan of.

Jacques: It’s the small ones you got to worry about.

Sara: I’m really frustrated that my dog just, he doesn’t realize how bad they are and that he needs to attack them. He’ll attack flies, house flies but not cockroaches. He thinks they’re his friend or something. But as far as differences, again, I think in Texas, one of the one of the leading environmental issues that have that’s occurring there is issues with drought, and they got out of drought in 2012 or 2011, around that time frame in 2012, or 2013, and at that point whenever the drought passed, then it’s the sense of the immediacy left and I don’t see that happening here. It seems like even though Hurricane Katrina happened more than a decade ago now the sense of immediacy is there and it’s there for everyone.

Jacques: Right, not only because of hurricanes but because of how bad this land loss crisis is and how vulnerable we are. We’re constantly living on the precipice of a threat. So, I’m curious beyond our enormous and prolific insect community. What have you found most surprising since you’ve been here working on the coastal beat?

Sara: Again, it’s just the sense of urgency and how everybody wants to tell that story. They are a part of that story, the knowledge of there are part of that story, they’re very much wanting to have their voice heard, and I think that that’s what we’re here for.

Jacques: Great, so I knew you went on a coastal fly over yesterday. Over New Orleans as well as on down the river seeing both the land loss and as well as restoration that’s happened. Can you tell us a little bit about what that experience was like? Did you learn anything new?

Sara: Oh, yeah. Yeah, that experience was amazing. Like when you look at a map that New Orleans is really close to the coast. But I’ve driven to Buras and it takes a long time. Driving to some of these coastal communities takes a little bit of time. Well not a lot, like an hour, which by Texas standards isn’t much, by the way. But I think it showed how really, this is one big thing and how what, like the levee, what happens with a levee, if someone builds a levee, how it affect the whole system. You can really tell that it’s all interconnected.

Jacques: Right, you see the pieces and how they fit together and how important each piece is. So, we’re about to head into a break but first, please tell our listeners all the details of where they can follow you, where they can get their your reporting, Twitter handle, all of that.

Sara: Oh, thanks. Yeah, @SaraSneath is my Twitter handle is where you can find all of our stories.

Jacques: Great well we are here with the amazing coastal reporting team at The Times Picayune. You’re listening to Delta Dispatches and we’ll be right back after the break.

And we’re back this is Jacques Hebert. You’re listening to Delta Dispatches. We’re discussing Louisiana’s coast. It’s people, wildlife, and jobs, and why restoring it matters. Today we’re lucky to be joined by New Louisiana coastal reporting team from The Times Picayune. Earlier we spoke with veteran journalist Mark Schleifstein as well as Sarah Sneath and now, last but certainly not least, we’re excited to welcome to the show Tristan Baurick. Welcome Tristan.

Tristan: Thanks.

Jacques: So, tell us a little bit about yourself.

Tristan: Well, I’m from Bremerton, Washington and I’ve been, for the last 10 years, working for my hometown newspaper. Most recently covering environment and outdoors.

Jacques: Great, and as you mentioned, you were at the Kitsap Sun in Washington. Maybe other than the cockroaches, what has the transition to south Louisiana been like for you?

Tristan: It’s actually been surprisingly smooth. The people here are really friendly. As soon as we moved into our new house, we had like five or six neighbors coming out of their house and welcoming us. So, it’s been actually really smooth.

Jacques: Great, and we’re not quite at the height of the summer heat yet so you’ve still got that to prepare for.

Tristan: Yeah, I think we came at the perfect time. The way springs are here it’s a lot like summers in Washington, and everybody’s really warning us that it’s going to get a lot worse, and we’ve may want to move.

Jacques: Well, once you make it through one summer you can make it their all hopefully, and air conditioning is always a friend. So, you’ve also been really busy in your new role, covering everything from this invasive insect that’s been destroying Roseau Cane and the birds of the Delta, to sediment aversions, to subsidence, to how restoration has benefited birds. We went out to Elmer’s Island recently and saw that directly. So, what have been some of your favorite stories that you’ve covered, so far and you want to send me if you don’t say the Audubon  Baurickier Island bird story.

Tristan: That was a good story. I think the story that I’ve really liked doing it is the Roseau Cane one. That’s been one that I’ve been tracking for a couple weeks and it’s gotten me out in the field a lot, talking to all kinds of different people from fishermen to politicians, and just everybody seems to be concerned about that issue, and it’s been a good one to cover.

Jacques: So, for our listeners who may not be familiar fully with what’s going on, can you give us a summary of both what’s happening, in terms, of there is the Roseau Cane and then also what’s being done to address it, if anything at this point?

Tristan: So, about, I think at the end of last year an insect appeared on Roseau cane in Plaquemines Parish and around the Mississippi Delta and it was killing the Cane and it was a mystery. They didn’t know what was causing it, and when they brought it to the attention of the state and some scientists, they didn’t know what it was, and so they spent a couple weeks just figuring out what it was and eventually figured out that … and it was the first appearance of this is aphid like insect, and it’s of this small insect and it’s from Asia, and it’s just been eradicated huge amounts of Roseau Cane which is very important to Wet Lands and it’s very erosion resistant. So, as the Cane goes so goes these marshlands.

Jacques: And I remember my first reaction in reading that story of yours about it was, “Oh gosh, here we go. Another thing that’s attacking our coast. That’s all we need.” Is it contained at this point?

Tristan: No, it’s still spreading. So, when I first started covering it a couple weeks ago it had gotten to about the middle of Plaquemines Parish and just recently they found it in Grand Isle. I think Jefferson Parish, it’s now in there. Not to the degree it is in the mouth of the Mississippi but it’s definitely spreading, and the phase that scientists are at right now is what do we do about it, and that’s also a big mystery. They’ve narrowed it down to three options, burning the marshes, spraying pesticides, or introducing The insects natural enemy which is a parasitic wasp from Asia. So, the challenge there would be how do you get that wasp come over here and start killing the insect here?

Jacques: That’s a challenge at a time when we don’t really need any more challenges, right? So, as far as boaters or others who may be in contact with it, are there are some recommendations that they should follow?

Tristan: Yeah they really want to contain the spread and so they’re asking boaters who might come into contact with the cane to wash their boats, and not to not to bring it anywhere else because there’s also a concern that this insect may attack some of the crops in the States like sugar cane.

Jacques: Right, so very serious and we’ll definitely be following you and your coverage of this to see how the story advances. So, shifting back to some of your previous reporting. I know when you’re in Washington. You were covering … You were on the front lines covering wildfires in a really powerful multimedia piece called Call of the Wildfire. So, tell us a little bit about that piece, but also how does covering a really extensive disaster like that compare to where we are now, where it’s a little bit of a slower but no less severe and urgent crisis?

Tristan: So, that story was an odd one in that I was fighting the fires as well as reporting on it. So, that was how I got access to the front lines. I trained with a local fire department and just mostly to get background in the issue of wildfires, and then the wildfire season came and they had a shortage of staff and they said, “You’re trained in this. We’d like you to go do it.” and I said, “Well I would only do it as a reporter.” And they said, “Why don’t you do both?” And so, that got me out there, serving dual roles. Like cutting fire lines as well as shooting photos, and interviewing people, and it was quite an experience. It was a bit terrifying, and very interesting, and very long days. 14, 16 hour days. So, yeah it’s quite an experience.

Jacques: And in terms of your being here I know you’ve been doing a lot of pieces that are explainer pieces, right? What is a sediment diversion? What is a freshwater diversion? what is dredging? A lot of these terms that the folks that are in business, or know about coastal issues use interchangeably, and we probably use them a lot on this show. But tell us a little bit about some of those explainer pieces in the coastal glossary that you all have started and our updating.

Tristan: Yeah, it’s something that, I think, as you cover an issue you might gloss over certain terms, or just use them very loosely and not really realize other people are not tracking this issue as closely as you are. So, we wanted to take a step back and define these terms that we use so often, and it’s been, I think, helpful. Even for Sara and I, these are new issues to us. Washington State, we don’t have sentiment versions, we don’t do a lot of dredging. So, it was an education for us as well.

Jacques: Great and folks can see the glossary, and as it’s updated on, is that correct?

Tristan: Yeah, we’ve got like a list of them now on one page, and we’re going to continue to update it as time goes on.

Jacques: Great well I want to ask you as well. You’ve been in this role for several months now. What have you found most surprising, or what have you learned that’s really stood out for you in your time reporting this beat?

Tristan: I’ve been pretty amazed at how the people understand the issue of coastal erosion, no matter where you go. From shrimpers and fishermen to politicians, everybody understands it’s a huge issue, it’s a crisis, everybody can see the effects. Whereas in Washington State, I feel like the environmental issues are not so in your face. They’re not so immediate. They’re not an immediate crisis. So, it’s a little bit more in theory, but here it’s right in your face.

Jacques: You had an opportunity to go up on a coastal flyover yesterday. Most people can’t see that firsthand. They don’t understand that whether they’re living behind levees, or they just aren’t able to see from a bird’s eye view what’s going on. So, what was that experience like for you?

Tristan: It was great. I’ve been down Plaquemines Parish a couple times now, and from the road it appears very narrow, and you don’t know that there’s much to it. But once you get in the air you see this just huge fan of marshes and wetlands that fan out from it, and so the grandness of the land was really apparent in that flight.

Jacques: Great, and we’re about to head into a break but I also want to ask you where can people follow you? What’s your Twitter handle? Where can they find your reporting? All of that stuff.

Tristan: Twitter is @TristanBaurick and stories are at

Jacques: Great, and so we are speaking with the New Orleans Times Picayune coastal reporting team. After the break we’ll close out with Mark and Tristan, and ask them some final questions. you’re listening Delta Dispatches.

Jacques:Hello. You’re listening to Delta Dispatches this is Jacques Hebert and I’m back with our guests from The Times Picayune coastal reporting team. As I mentioned before the break Sara Sneath had to Jet out but you can be sure to follow her on Twitter @SaraSneath and I’m lucky to have Mark Schleifstein and Tristan Baurick who have stayed on for our last segment. So, Mark and Tristan, I have to ask this question. Simone and I like to keep it fun and she probably yell at me if I didn’t ask a fun question. So, I don’t disappoint her or our listeners, so our fun question of the week is what is your favorite snowball flavor?

Tristan: I’ve had one so far and it was at Hansen’s, and I would say it’s my favorite is really good. It was chocolate, and condensed milk, and bananas. Banana Foster.

Jacques: Wow.

Tristan: Yeah.

Jacques: That sounds amazing.

Mark: I’m old school, Dreamsicle.

Jacques: There you go, and snowballs are another key to surviving the New Orleans summer so hope you get to have a lot more, Tristan. So, this is, I guess this is a question more For Tristan, but Mark, please feel free to chime in as well. As journalists who previously were working outside of Louisiana and you’re now here covering the story, how do you think the story is being covered on the national level? Are there certain conceptions? Do you think the urgency and severity of our land loss crisis receive the attention that it deserves?

Mark: So, I’m actually on the board of the Society of Environmental Journalists and have been involved with them 27 years, that’s how long they’ve existed. It really is hard, until you get down here and see what’s going on to understand the reality of the land loss issue that we’re facing, and the risk. One of the things that has increased awareness nationwide was Hurricane Sandy, which did bring up close the same issues that we’ve been facing to New York City, and New Jersey. and other locations like that. So, that has raised awareness, and then the sea level rise also is becoming increasingly a problem that people are having to deal with. When you’re on Miami Beach and waters popping up from the sewers every other day because of high tides, you start wondering what’s going on, and that sort of helps people understand what’s happening over here as well.

Jacques: And I know we talk a lot about the work that we’re doing down here being a model for other places that are facing sea level rise, climate change, or will in the years ahead. Do you see people across the country, and across the globe looking to Louisiana and what we’re doing here is something that they might need to implement at some point?

Mark: Yeah, Post Katrina, I had the opportunity of speaking overseas in three different locations, Monterey Mexico where I was on a panel with hurricane officials from Cuba and other places in South America, and Central America, and that was a key issue. In Stockholm, was able to talk with reporters from Europe about issues involving climate change and how Louisiana … What they were facing, how we were sort of a canary in the in the coal mine, so to speak, and also in Istanbul, was able to … Had an audience with the patriarch of the Eastern Orthodox Church who’s known as the green pope, and he was so interested in the issues involving South Louisiana that he actually brought his annual Religion Science and Environment Conference to New Orleans back in, I think it was 2009 to talk about coastal erosion issues. So, it is an issue that seen around the world. We’re also seeing similar sorts of things going on in areas like the Mekong Delta.

Jacques: Right, so there is that spotlight, in some ways, on us and how effective we’re going to be at addressing this crisis. That brings me to another recently announced, exciting venture which I know we can’t go into in to great of detail but you all posted an article just, at least, announcing it. So, could you tell us a little bit about this partnership in terms of what has been announced so far?

Mark: Sure, so we’re sort of in a partnership with The New York Times to do some reporting on coastal issues, and at the moment that’s really basically where we are. We haven’t really decided what it is we’re going to be doing other than looking at the master plan and coastal issues that are important nationwide, and The New York Times has felt that it needs to pair with local newspapers around the country to expand its reach and to expand the ability of its readers around the nation to figure out about issues in other areas.

Jacques: It was obviously a great announcement. We’re excited to see, not just because of the national coverage that it has seen but that they’re looking to you, Mark, and your expertise the knowledge of this issue and reporting on it for so long as someone to work with here on the ground. So, we’ll look forward to seeing and hearing more about that. But more broadly, I guess do you see that as a model that can be used in environmental journalism more broadly, I guess. The partnerships and particularly between national and local outlets?

Mark: Exactly, one of the things that the Society of Environmental Journalists is trying to do is put together money that can be used to help pay for adding staffers to two newspapers across the country, and providing focused coverage on individual issues, and so that that is something, especially, this pairing that’s going on, that we’re hoping see, nationwide, to occur. We need to basically mirror what the Associated Press does all across the country. They have a great history of covering environmental issues across the nation and then providing that information to us, or picking up local reporting where their member stations. So, where our member newspapers papers are.

Jacques: And so many stories of a changing climate and sea level rise and an environment influx are local, right? And so I’m curious, what advice would you give to journalists, regardless of whether they’re local, national, TV, print, radio on how to cover these stories?

Mark: Talk to people who are looking in their backyards at what’s happening to them is the first step, and then going to the local universities, and the local agencies that are involved in dealing with those kinds of issues. It’s pretty easy to figure that out.

Jacques: Great, and so one last time, can you tell us where people can go to follow your reporting, follow your team’s reporting, Twitter handles, all of that.

Mark: So, @MarkSchleifstein on Twitter and the paper’s, and the shortcut is /environment.

Jacques: Great, and also thank you Tristan for being on and one more time your Twitter handle.

Tristan: Twitter is @TristenBaurick.

Jacques: Great. Well I just want to thank you so much. Mark Schleifstein, Tristan Baurick, and Sarah Sneath for taking the time out of their busy day and their reporting to come and be on the show to talk about the expanded New Orleans coastal partnership, coastal reporting team as well as this exciting partnership that we hope to hear a little bit more about in the future. Thank you all so much. I hope it’s been fun for you as well.

Mark: Sure has.

Tristan: Thanks.

Jacques: Great and next week, I think, is national infrastructure week. So, we’re going to be talking about coastal restoration as infrastructure. We’re going to have some experts on the show who are going to talk about some of the restoration projects that the Coastal Production Restoration Authority has teed up, and how the governor, and others, are trying to position those projects as infrastructure. Hopefully I’ll have my co-host back Simone Maloz from Minnesota after a really successful trip. For all you who want to go online you can go to to subscribe to the podcast, listen to past episodes, and make sure you get updates on new ones. This has been Delta Dispatches and this is Jacques Hebert. Thanks, and have a great week.