Letter to the Editor
Published 9:41 pm Wednesday, May 17, 2023
As a Retiree/Community Volunteer of St. John the Baptist parish, my ask for CPRA is to rethink and redesign the structure of the mission of this agency. It is evident that spending billions on moving earth and dirt to “restore” the coast is a race that cannot be won against accelerating climate warming. Instead, the ask is for direct funding to coastal communities to: elevate houses; reestablishing native plants and trees to absorb increase rain water; preserve and grow cultural heritage sites and practices; employ social scientists on staff to aid in the planning and handling of the trauma of natural disasters including smart community design and building in concert of a warming climate; employ and engage tribal and culture bearer knowledge including local fisher persons, hunters, environmental/climate advocates, etc.
If CPRA maintains the current model in restoring the coast without direct community funding then the only winner in this scenario will be the businesses hired to design and move earth to “restore” the coast. It is apparent when the original mission of “restoring” the coast was conceived it lacked vision and inclusion of community at the table, and encompasses one dimensional thinking. Equally as important, there is no sense of urgency being displayed by CPRA because of the static model of six-year planning without changing course even after the hurricanes ravage the coast line. It appears maintaining business as usual is the real motto of CPRA. Furthermore, as long as the state of Louisiana hitches its wagon to one industry, oil and gas (which is primarily responsible for warming climate and greenhouse gases), CPRA should minimize investment into “restoring” the coast, and wisely spend the dollars on the people directly, so we the people, can move to higher ground and/or find a way to preserve our unique way of life including preserving our French language. In other words, break the current model and urgently redeploy an action plan that will directly improve the quality of life for coastal Louisianans today.