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3 stories about the relationship between Gulf residents and the water we rely on

In the past decade, freshwater and sediment diverted from the nearby Mississippi River have turned what once was an open bay into a thriving wetlands area. Local environmental groups have planted thousands of cypress trees, attempting to create a marsh that will help absorb storms that pass through.
Weenta Girmay for WWNO
Cypress trees in the Mississippi River

Today on Louisiana Considered, we bring you three stories about water. We hear why residents in Tangipahoa Parish are now closer than ever to financial restitution after flood damage from 40 years ago and we learn about an upcoming waterways exhibition at LSU. Plus we dive deeper into Jackson, Mississippi’s water crisis. This episode of Louisiana Considered originally aired on Monday, Oct. 3, 2022. To hear the full episode, click the “play” button above.

Nearly 40 years ago, devastating floods caused extreme damage in Tangipahoa Parish, upending the lives of many residents. Now, nearly two thousand Louisiana residents are closer than ever to financial restitution from the state. Jean Paul Layrisson, one of the attorneys representing the flood victims, joins us for more on this long journey towards compensation.

In September, LSU’s Hill Memorial Library at Louisiana State University unveiled a new exhibition focused on the state’s wetlands. Dubbed, “Water, Water Everywhere: Control and Consequence in Louisiana’s Coastal Wetlands,” the exhibit chronicles the relationship between Louisianans and water, while drawing attention to the fragility of the state’s coastal wetlands.

Here to tell us more about this exhibition and what attendees can learn from it is LSU Libraries’ Exhibition Manager, Leah Wood Jewett, and Associate Professor at LSU’s College of the Coast & Environment, Tracy Quirk.

The collapse of Jackson Mississippi’s city water system earlier this month made headlines all over the world. But for residents, this is just the most recent example of water infrastructure issues that have plagued the city. The Gulf States Newsroom Danny McArthur tells us about the hundreds of lawsuits over lead exposure that have been piling up in the last year.

Today’s episode of Louisiana Considered was hosted by Karen Henderson. Our managing producer is Alana Schreiber and our digital editor is Katelyn Umholtz. Our engineers are Garrett Pittman, Aubry Procell, and Thomas Walsh. 

You can listen to Louisiana Considered Monday through Friday at 12:00 and 7:30 pm. It’s available on Spotify, Google Play, and wherever you get your podcasts. 

Louisiana Considered wants to hear from you! Please fill out our pitch line to let us know what kinds of story ideas you have for our show. And while you’re at it, fill out our listener survey! We want to keep bringing you the kinds of conversations you’d like to listen to.

Louisiana Considered is made possible with support from our listeners. Thank you!

Karen Henderson is an award-winning journalist whose stories have aired nationally on NPR.
Alana Schreiber is the managing producer for the live daily news program, Louisiana Considered. She comes to WRKF from KUNC in Northern Colorado, where she worked as a radio producer for the daily news magazine, Colorado Edition. She has previously interned for Minnesota Public Radio in St. Paul and The Documentary Group in New York City.