From New Orleans to Lake Charles, the entire Louisiana coast was impacted by last year’s hurricane season. Homes were lost, and lives changed forever but if there is a word to describe the people of the coast it's this.
“Resilient, southwest Louisiana is resilient.”
2 Major hurricanes, A Hurricane, and a Tropical Storm. Coastal Louisiana was ravaged after a relentless 2020 hurricane season. In a region that hadn’t seen a strong hurricane since the 2005 season, Southwest Louisiana was hit not only 1 but 2 hurricanes including Category 4 Laura. Storm surge was a large issue for the entire state with over 3 feet of water along the entire coast with water levels reaching about 18 feet in Cameron Parish. In these parishes, the oil and gas industries took a direct hit from the powerful storms that made landfall impacting those that lived nearby.
“Whenever they had the explosion, the citizens had to shelter in place, now people are thinking, well a hurricane just occurred so there aren’t many citizens there, but there were people here that had to shelter in place, who breathed in those dangerous chemicals.” Says Roishetta Ozane of The Vessel Project and Healthy Gulf
While last year was abnormally active for the region, it served as a reminder of the changing climate and the challenges that coastal Louisiana has and will face coming.
“I think that definitely a wake-up call for the community. If you get republicans who typically don’t talk about climate change and global warming, when you get them to have those conversations I think that it is a wake-up call for everybody. We were impacted by 2 of the largest hurricanes in this region in decades and then on top of that we had a freeze and then on top of that we had the flooding on May 17th. It has just been natural disaster after natural disaster after natural disaster and I think that these things are going to continue to occur and it's not going to get better it's gonna get worse as our climate here in Louisiana warms. Climate change is happening, global warming is happening we just have to make sure that we here in southwest Louisiana are doing what we can do to the best of our ability to prepare for what's coming.”
For many communities along the coast, the path back to normal will continue for years even as they try to build back from the rubble, but in the words of Ozane they are resilient and they will be back stronger than ever.