Coastal Louisiana is disappearing into the Gulf of Mexico. Sea level rise, subsidence, and hurricanes are projected to completely alter the landscape here without massive and costly intervention in the form of levees and other diversions. Fossil fuel companies all along the Gulf Coast, which are the prime contributors to this sea level rise, have effectively outsourced the true costs of their operations onto the surrounding population and state and federal governments. This area will most likely be completely underwater within a few decades.

End of the road. Cocodrie, Louisiana.

Grand Caillou. Residents are still dealing with the effects from the raging winds of Hurricane Ida, which hit just two months before these photos were taken.

Floodgates along the Houma Navigation Channel. 

Grand Caillou. 

The long road through the delta to Cocodrie.

An American flag, tattered by Hurricane Ida, in Cocodrie.

The Bubba Dove Floodgate, a crucial component of the hurricane protection system in coastal Louisiana, opened in 2022. 

Grass and water.

The bayou.

Chalmette, just to the east of New Orleans. in 2005, Hurricane Katrina inundated this neighborhood with up to 12 feet of water, causing up to 1m gallons of oil to leak out of a storage tank at the nearby Murphy Oil refinery. The ensuing oil spill spread throughout the neighborhood, affecting up to 10,000 homes and forcing the relocation of thousands of people. Eventually Murphy Oil settled for $330m in a class action lawsuit. The boundary of where the water affected the homes is easy to see, and the neighborhood immediately surrounding the refinery is now open fields. 

Outside the levee system at Shell Beach. Many residents have built their homes here on tall stilts, anticipating the arrival of another catastrophic storm surge which is all but certain.

The Lower 9th Ward in New Orleans was one of the most heavily affected by Hurricane Katrina in the entire city. The levees (pictured here) were breached in at least three locations, allowing water to raise past the highest point of the ward and trapping many on the roofs of their homes. 72 people drowned. 

The Mississippi River, downtown New Orleans.

Floodgate, Houma Navigation Channel. 

Months after Hurricane Ida ripped through New Orleans with 140mph winds, most homes still are covered in blue tarps with wind-damaged roofs.

Wrecked home, Grand Caillou.

Hurricane Katrina memorial, Shell Beach.

Looking toward the Gulf of Mexico, Cocodrie.

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