Travis Lux

Contributing Reporter

Travis Lux primarily contributes science and health stories to Louisiana's Lab. He studied anthropology and sociology at Rhodes College in Memphis, TN, and picked up his first microphone at the Transom Story Workshop in Woods Hole, MA. In his spare time he loves to cook -- especially soups and casseroles. 

Louisiana shrimpers are facing low prices. They say the business is tougher than it’s ever been, and recently considered striking. Many are looking for creative ways to make more money.

 

After a high-profile campaign to oppose the Dakota Access Pipeline in 2016, a number of states moved to make it harder to protest oil and gas projects. Now in Louisiana, the first felony arrests of protesters could be a test case of these tougher laws as opponents vow a legal challenge.

Every summer, a dead zone forms in the Gulf of Mexico. It’s an area with so little oxygen that marine life can’t survive, caused mostly by agricultural fertilizers that wash down the Mississippi River.

 

According to a new study from the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON), it’s much smaller this year. But, that might not necessarily be a sign of progress.

The Army Corps of Engineers has a system for classifying river and hurricane levees across the country. On Thursday, officials announced the final classifications for Southeast Louisiana. From Baton Rouge to New Orleans levee systems are considered “Moderate to High Risk.”

Though that may sound concerning, the Army Corps stresses that these classifications are not safety ratings. New Orleans District commander Colonel Mike Clancy says the levees themselves are in good shape.

One group of forecasters has decreased its 2018 hurricane season forecast from above-average to below-average.

There are typically about 12 named storms in the Atlantic during hurricane season.

Over the past century, Louisiana has lost more than 2,000 square miles of coastline, leaving it more vulnerable to storms, flooding and sea level rise. State officials have been fighting back, building levees, artificial marshes and barrier islands. Now they want to harness the muddy Mississippi River, diverting its sediment-rich waters into shrinking marshes and wetlands.

LSU unveiled a big, new model of the lower Mississippi River Monday. It will be used to simulate floods and help the state figure out how to use the river to rebuild the coast.

Legendary musician Antoine “Fats” Domino passed away last week. New Orleanians celebrated his life and career with a second line parade Wednesday night. The whole thing started at Vaughan's, a bar in the Bywater. The intersection out front was packed by 5 p.m.

People were selling cold drinks and cotton candy. There were barbecue booths atop portable trailers. One person was wearing Fats Domino fat-suit complete with paper mache head, but most were wearing some shade of blue — a reference to the titles of some of Domino’s most famous songs like Blue Monday and Blueberry Hill.

Exxon Mobil will settle air pollution cases with the federal government and the State of Louisiana.

 

The feds and the state of Louisiana claimed that Exxon Mobil violated the Clean Air Act by releasing excess amounts of harmful pollutants from eight of its chemical plants.

 

Five of those plants are in Texas. Three of them are in the Baton Rouge area.  All of them make either plastic, or chemicals for plastic — according to EPA officials.

Four years ago, the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority - East (SLFPA-E) filed a lawsuit against dozens of oil and gas companies, claiming they damaged the coast and made levee protection more difficult.

 

The board had asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review a previous court's decision, but now the Supreme Court says it won’t — effectively killing the lawsuit.

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