WRKF

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. 

As the climate warms, cities are thinking about how to mitigate urban temperature increases. But cities in wet climates like South Louisiana may have a tougher time cooling off than those in drier climates, according to a new study published Wednesday in the scientific journal Nature.

The Mississippi River plays a critical role in Louisiana’s plan to combat coastal land loss. The state wants to divert part of its flow into the dying marshes as a way of building back some of the land.

But, a recent study by LSU researcher Gene Turner says the benefits of using the river might not outweigh the drawbacks. WWNO’s Travis Lux spoke with Turner about the study, and the response from the state.

Louisiana is building a new cybersecurity center in Baton Rouge.

The newly named Louisiana Cyber Coordination Center, or LC3, has a few goals. It will support existing cyber missions at military sites like Fort Polk. It will also be used to help train members of the Louisiana National Guard, as well as to help defend governments and companies against a growing number of cyber attacks.

Even though Barry didn’t turn out to be as bad as many people feared, it still caused damage in several Louisiana parishes. Now, the state of Louisiana is asking the federal government to help pay for the costs of preparing for the storm and post-storm cleanup.

A strong majority of Louisiana voters believe in climate change, according to a new poll sponsored by several environmental groups.

About 1,000 “chronic voters” in Louisiana were surveyed by phone for the poll, which was conducted by political consulting firm BDPC LLC + Pinsonat for the Restore the Mississippi River Delta coalition.

One of the ways the state plans to rebuild land on the Louisiana coast is by sediment diversions -- diverting the silt, sand, and dirty waters of the Mississippi River into the marsh.

For years, many in the commercial fishing industry have claimed that the influx of freshwater funneled through diversions would ruin their industry. Now, some fishers feel they have proof: the damaging impacts of the 2019 Mississippi River Flood.

This year’s dead zone is the eighth largest on record in the Gulf of Mexico, though it’s size could have been impacted by Hurricane Barry last month.

The dead zone is an area of hypoxic, or low-oxygen, conditions that forms at the bottom of the Gulf every year. Fertilizers, which wash off of Midwestern agricultural fields and down the Mississippi River, fuel algae blooms in the Gulf of Mexico. As the algae dies the water loses oxygen, killing fish and other sea creatures.

Two disaster-related bills proposed this week in Congress could offer relief for Louisiana communities affected by extreme weather. One would create a permanent safety net program for commercial fishers who have suffered losses due to environmental damage. Another would create a special fund meant to help cities and towns build more resiliently.

Commercial Fishing and Aquaculture Protection Act of 2019

Environmental disasters can cause commercial fishers to lose money. This year, for example, Mississippi River flooding has dramatically reduced the catch of several kinds of seafood in both Mississippi and Louisiana.

Residents and a pair of environmental activist groups are suing St. James Parish over an alleged secret meeting that plaintiffs claim violated Louisiana Open Meetings Law.

Wanhua Chemical US Operation, LLC has proposed construction of a polyurethane facility on a 250 acre tract of land in Convent, Louisiana. On May 20th, 2019, the St. James Planning Commission voted 5-3 to approve the company’s industrial land use application for the site.

Last Update 5:00 p.m., July 11, 2019

The latest forecasts have Tropical Storm Barry making landfall no longer as a hurricane, but as a tropical storm, just west of Morgan City, on Saturday. However, forecasters say the storm could still grow to hurricane force as it approaches the coast.

The main concern is still rain. Most of the New Orleans area can expect 10-15 inches of rain, but some areas could get up to 20 inches. Areas near Morgan City and Houma are predicted to get the worst of the deluge -- 20 to 25 inches.

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