LA SAFE planning initiative will engage coastal residents in six parishes to develop vision for safer, stronger communities.
On Tuesday, March 7, 2017, Governor John Bel Edwards announced the launch of a citizen-led planning effort to provide residents of six coastal parishes with the opportunity to actively shape the future of their communities so they are stronger and safer, even as Louisiana’s coastline is dramatically changing.
The planning process is a key component of LA SAFE – Louisiana’s Strategic Adaptations for Future Environments – a community-focused resilience and adaptation policy framework complementing the state’s Coastal Master Plan. The planning process will focus on developing a common vision with coastal residents to guide future development, relative to projected flood risk, in coming decades.
Gov. Edwards spoke about the resilient nature of the people of Louisiana and how they have successfully faced challenges in the past. He also told the audience that the LA SAFE planning initiative will be community-led and inclusive, and is designed to incorporate the vision and ideas of citizens about how they would like to see their communities adapt to a changing coast.
The planning process will involve public meetings focused on citizen input, as well as extensive outreach to residents of Jefferson, Lafourche, Plaquemines, St. John the Baptist, St. Tammany and Terrebonne parishes. In total, the six parishes account for nearly 21 percent of Louisiana’s population – more than 965,000 residents.
The LA SAFE planning process is coordinated by the state’s Office of Community Development, Disaster Recovery Unit, in partnership with Foundation for Louisiana and the elected leadership of the six parishes.
“The Foundation’s mission is to invest in people and practices that work to reduce vulnerability and build stronger, more sustainable communities,” said Flozell Daniels, Jr., the Foundation for Louisiana’s president and CEO. “We are committed to the Governor’s call that every citizen in our coastal communities have the opportunity to plan their future themselves.”
In announcing the launch of the LA SAFE community planning process, Governor Edwards stressed the importance of Louisiana’s coast to the economic vitality of the entire state and the nation.
“Our coast supplies 90 percent of the nation’s outer continental oils and gas, handles 20 percent of U.S. waterborne commerce and is home to a critical mass of commercial fisheries that feed our families and the world,” said Governor Edwards. “A stronger, safer coast is vital to our state—and our country’s—health and strength.”
Governor Edwards’ remarks were made during his keynote address at the opening of RES/CON, a national conference on community resilience being held at the Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Convention Center in New Orleans.
Detailed information about LA SAFE meeting times, dates and locations is available on our website. The website will be continually updated with information about the planning process. It includes links to LA SAFE’s Facebook page, Twitter account and other tools to ensure active citizen participation.
About LA SAFE
After announcing the state as a winner in the 2016 National Disaster Resilience Competition, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded Louisiana’s Office of Community Development, Disaster Recovery Unit $92 million to implement two coastal resilience-building projects. The two projects are LA SAFE – Louisiana’s Strategic Adaptations for Future Environments, which is a resilience policy framework for the state’s hurricane-impacted areas, and the resettlement of Isle de Jean Charles in lower Terrebonne Parish.
As the state’s central point for hurricane recovery, OCD-DRU manages the most extensive rebuilding effort in American history, working closely with local, state and federal partners to ensure that Louisiana’s recovery is safer, stronger and smarter than before.
About the Foundation for Louisiana
The mission of the Foundation for Louisiana (FFL) is to invest in people and practices that reduce vulnerability and build stronger, more sustainable communities statewide. FFL’s partnership with the State of Louisiana on the launch of the planning process of LA SAFE builds on FFL’s extensive work in coastal communities and its commitment to equitable and inclusive planning. Working within the Coastal Resiliency Leverage Fund and through the support of the Rockefeller Foundation, the Foundation began work in the summer and fall of 2016 on its LEAD the Coast initiative, which supported Plaquemines Parish residents in the design of their own coastal community engagement and planning process. Since its founding in 2005, FFL has invested $41.5 million in more than 200 mission-critical nonprofit organizations working across the state towards rebuilding a better Louisiana.