The Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that advocates for coastal restoration and undertakes restoration projects. We are not a disaster relief group. So while our mission is also urgent and we need your help, too, so that we can restore and protect coastal wetlands, we ask that you consider ways to provide immediate relief and assistance to the people of Louisiana and others affected by Hurricane Ida. There are many ways to contribute. Here are some: https://www.nola.com/.../article_f96d8ef6-0b5b-11ec-a670...
There are extreme challenges to living here after the storm. In some communities close to the coast in lower Jefferson, Lafourche and Terrebonne parishes, as well as in places like LaPlace and even further north, many of the homes are not in livable condition. Roofs are torn up, and when it rains, the chances homes can be saved dwindles further. Unless they have generators, most of the people who live there have no electricity during the hottest part of the year. Many of them lack water. Hospitals have closed. Gas stations are either destroyed, closed or short on fuel. Children who should be learning are not in school. Of the people who evacuated, many of them are running low on resources -- and a lot of them were already stretched thin before the storm. And even if they stayed, they may not have jobs. Marginalized communities, and especially people of color, are on the front lines of our coast. We fear some of them will never be the same.
Helping the people affected by this storm is of the utmost urgency. The longer this drags on, the greater the likelihood that people will stay in the places to which they've evacuated.
The situation is changing rapidly, but the greatest impediments to recovery immediately seem to be logistical challenges -- no electricity and not enough gasoline. The people of southwest Louisiana are *still* in desperate need of help after the hurricanes of 2020. Having lived through Hurricane Katrina, we know that the people who rebuild face YEARS of difficulty -- frustration, fraud, broken promises, unavoidable gloom. This is just the beginning.
We remain dedicated to confronting coastal land loss. Our wetlands help protect us from hurricanes, but at the same time they take the brunt of damage from them. We must undertake restoration projects large and small to rebuild them as soon as possible. We should have embraced sediment diversions when they were first proposed more than 45 years ago. The city of Houma, which was clobbered by Hurricane Ida, is 10 MILES closer to the Gulf of Mexico than it was in the 1930s, and that's just not acceptable. We must recognize that this is not some grim future; this is the present. As much as south Louisiana residents are tired of being commended for their resilience, we must build the concept of it into everything we do. We cannot afford to try to wring a few more years out of things as they are while pretending there is no climate crisis.
This is a storm that hit Grand Isle, rendering Louisiana's last inhabited barrier island uninhabitable. That was just the first place hit. Bourg. Houma. Lockport. Schriever. Gray. Point-aux-Chenes. Montegut. Galliano. Cut Off. LaRose. Golden Meadow. LaPlace. Chauvin. Bayou Blue. Fourchon. Paradis. Kenner. Metairie. New Orleans. Hammond. Ponchatoula. Many, many more communities are in dire straits. There are hundreds of thousands of people who need immediate help. This is our culture. Our humanity. It is worth saving.
The federal levees surrounding the New Orleans area held. That's obviously a very good thing. And restoration projects WORK. Surge was not as bad down the bayou as it could have been thanks to the wetlands the storm had to cross. We are fortunate to have them, but we must keep them from vanishing. We must recognize that this is a struggle with no end in sight.
We have been through so much in south Louisiana. We provide so much to the world. Now we need help.