By Eden Davis, Greater New Orleans Outreach Coordinator, Mississippi River Delta Restoration Campaign
On Wednesday June 18, the Mississippi River Delta Restoration Campaign and the Jefferson Chamber of Commerce co-hosted a “Party with a Purpose” for young professionals. More than 64 young professionals came out to enjoy the evening at Brisbi’s restaurant in Lakeview. The event highlighted the coastal land loss crisis that Louisiana is currently facing as well as solutions to restore our coast.
Louisiana loses a football field of wetlands every hour. Since 1932, Louisiana has lost more than 1.2 million acres of wetlands. It is projected that if no action is taken to restore the coast, Louisiana will lose another 1 million acres over the next 50 years.
“Party with a Purpose” was attended by young professionals from the insurance, real estate, banking, non-profit, marketing and sales industries who came to socialize and learn more about Louisiana’s land loss crisis, solutions for restoration and how to get involved.
Brisbi’s was a fitting venue to remind attendees of Louisiana’s land loss crisis. The restaurant fronts the marina that opens into Lake Pontchartrain. During Hurricane Katrina, the waters of Lake Pontchartrain rose and a section of the levee flood wall along the 17th Street Canal near the lake collapsed. This was one of the most significant levee failures during Hurricane Katrina. Floodwater from the flood wall breach inundated large parts of Lakeview in a matter of minutes, including Brisbi’s. Near the breach itself, the force of the storm surge uprooted trees and even separated some houses from their foundations. Some areas received as much as 14 feet of floodwater.
As New Orleanians, we often forget we live on the coast, but one can easily be reminded by visiting Brisbi’s on the lakefront. In New Orleans, we are protected by the marshes, wetlands and barrier islands which stand between our city and the open Gulf of Mexico. It’s this natural infrastructure which protects our communities, businesses and homes from being inundated with storm surge when hurricanes hit coastal Louisiana.
While Louisiana has invested in a $14-billion Greater New Orleans Hurricane Protection System, which includes miles of levees and state-of-the-art pumps, the levees were not engineered to withstand open water. The levees were designed to be protected by thriving wetlands and marsh.
In order to protect our vibrant city, unique culture, thriving economy and distinct communities, we must take action NOW to restore our coast. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to keep updated on efforts to restore coastal Louisiana. Additionally, if you would like to receive coastal restoration and land loss updates as well as updates on ways you can join the fight to save Louisiana’s coast, please email myself, Eden Davis, at firstname.lastname@example.org.