Coastal Communities Swallowed

Thousands of Louisiana residents are being forced to retreat from their rapidly disappearing coastal communities.
December 10, 2010, 5am PST | Nate Berg
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This article from On Earth magazine visits the coast to find communities and their histories being deserted.

"Louisiana's bottom-most ribbon is literally sinking, and taking communities with it. According to David Burley, an assistant professor of sociology at Southeastern Louisiana University, the Pointe-au-Chien tribe's experience is being replicated throughout the region. "Tropical storms batter these places like they didn't do 20 years ago because of the land loss," says Burley, whose 2010 book Losing Ground documents the phenomenon. "Damage accumulates, accumulates, accumulates, and then you have the oil spill and the continuing decline of fishing." In 2007, the Christian Science Monitor reported that 10,000 Louisianans have migrated northward as coastal lands have disappeared. Two experts I checked with -- Burley and Kristina Peterson, a senior researcher at the University of New Orleans' Center for Hazards Assessment, Response, and Technology -- believe this represents a vast undercount."

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Published on Monday, December 6, 2010 in OnEarth
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