Historic Louisiana Flooding, Katrina Anniversary Serve as Stark Reminders of Need for Increased Resilience
State’s Master Plan Should Prioritize Community Protection along with Coastal Restoration
(New Orleans – August 25, 2016) Louisiana recently experienced unprecedented flooding that killed 13 people and damaged more than 110,000 homes. This slow-moving storm overwhelmed communities far outside of the 100-year flood zone, including some communities previously impacted by Hurricanes Rita (2005) and Isaac (2012).
Next week also marks the 11th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, which pummeled the Gulf Coast, killing nearly 2,000 people and devastating communities and the environment. Since the storm, Louisiana has come a long way in restoring and better protecting coastal areas against storm surge, but there is still work to do to achieve comprehensive restoration and community resilience in the face of future threats.
Local and national organizations working together on Mississippi River Delta restoration as Restore the Mississippi River Delta – Environmental Defense Fund, the National Wildlife Federation, National Audubon Society, Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation and Coalition to Restoration Coastal Louisiana – released the following statement:
“Eleven years ago, coastal Louisiana experienced firsthand the misfortune of hurricane storm surge and flooding. Earlier this month, tragedy struck again as unparalleled rainfall inundated communities farther north, damaging areas across south central Louisiana previously untouched by severe flooding.
“It is becoming overwhelmingly clear that there will be nowhere to hide from a changing climate as these ‘unusual’ weather events become more regular. To better protect our communities, wildlife and economies, we need comprehensive coastal restoration and resiliency planning. We need healthy wetlands to buffer from storm surge; sensible floodplain management to leverage the land-building power of the Mississippi River, while protecting communities from their flooding; and community resiliency programs to build homes and businesses stronger, safer and better. We need to make sure our entire state is equipped to deal with the risks that lie ahead.
“As Louisiana citizens respond to this latest challenge, and reflect upon past coastal devastation, we look forward to the tremendous opportunity that exists to restore our coast and protect our communities from storm surge: the 2017 Coastal Master Plan. In the years ahead, we can invest billions of dollars in the most powerful and innovative coastal restoration and community resiliency projects in the nation. Let’s get to work doing just that before the next disaster strikes.”
Emily Guidry Schatzel, National Wildlife Federation, 225.253.9781, firstname.lastname@example.org
Elizabeth Van Cleve, Environmental Defense Fund, 202.553.2543, email@example.com
Jacques Hebert, National Audubon Society, 504.264.6849, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jimmy Frederick, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, 225.767.4181, email@example.com
John Lopez, Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, 504.421.7348, firstname.lastname@example.org
This release has been updated to reflect the latest estimate that 110,000 homes were damaged, an increase from the original 60,000 estimate.