Parish-specific meetings offer next step toward development of coastal community adaptation plans
LA SAFE—Louisiana’s Strategic Adaptations for Future Environments—will host a series of parishwide meetings in six coastal parishes July 24 through Aug. 3.
The larger meetings follow 21 smaller community meetings in the six parishes held in late May and early June that engaged nearly 500 residents in Jefferson, Lafourche, Plaquemines, St. John the Baptist, St. Tammany and Terrebonne parishes. More than 1,000 residents have participated, with more expected as the momentum and interest continue to build on this co-design planning process.
The parishwide meetings will allow residents to begin the process of drafting strategies based on the feedback generated during the community-meeting process. This will lead to the design of specific parishwide adaptation strategies with at least one project, program or policy that would be funded through LA SAFE—a planning initiative coordinated by the Louisiana Office of Community Development’s (OCD) Disaster Recovery Unit, in partnership with Foundation for Louisiana’s Coastal Resilience Leverage Fund.
“We’ve come to an unfortunate crossroads in which we understand we’re going to experience a higher degree of flood risk over the next 50 years despite planned structural protections and restoration efforts. However, with this knowledge comes the opportunity to develop a vision for Louisiana’s at-risk communities accounting for risk while maximizing cultural and economic potential,” Mathew Sanders, resilience program and policy administrator with OCD, said. “We look forward to working with residents and stakeholders to continue to refine that vision.”
“We’re excited about the level of participation and innovative ideas from the residents as we work together to help plan for the future,” Liz Williams, director of Foundation for Louisiana’s Coastal Resilience Leverage Fund, said. “We’ve come a long way in just a few months as we first agreed on what a planning process would even look like, and then to start thinking about our communities’ needs and opportunities. Now it’s time to draft strategies. So whether you’ve already participated in a meeting or still want to participate, it’s not too late.”
The LA SAFE planning process will conclude with the final adaptation of a plan for each parish by the end of 2017.
Residents can follow the planning process and receive updates on the LA SAFE initiative at LASAFE.la.gov, the LA SAFE Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram (all @livelasafe).
A full list of the upcoming parishwide meetings is below. All meetings are 6 – 8 p.m., unless otherwise noted. Food will be provided. Anyone requiring special assistance to participate in a meeting or who requires childcare or transportation to attend, should contact Foundation for Louisiana at 504.517.5292 at least five working days prior to the meeting.
NOTE: If you’d like to let us know you’re coming, click on the link to the meeting’s time and venue below; that will take you to the Facebook event page for that meeting.
Wednesday, Aug. 2 — Mel Ott Recreation Center, 2301 Belle Chasse Hwy., Gretna
Wednesday, July 26 — Mathews Government Complex, 4876 La. Hwy. 1, Mathews
Monday, July 24 — Port Sulphur YMCA/Community Center, 278 Civic Drive, Port Sulphur
Monday, July 31 (4 – 6 p.m.) — Vietnamese community at Buras Community Center/YMCA, 36364 U.S. Hwy. 11, Buras
Monday, July 31 (6 – 8 p.m.) — Cambodian community at Buras Community Center/YMCA, 36364 U.S. Hwy. 11, Buras
ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST
Thursday, Aug. 3 — St. John the Baptist Parish Community Center, 2900 U.S. Hwy. 51, LaPlace
Thursday, July 27 — Lakeshore High School, 26301 La. Hwy. 1088, Mandeville
Tuesday, Aug. 1 — Houma-Terrebonne Civic Center, 346 Civic Center Blvd., Houma
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About LA SAFE—LA SAFE is a planning process to develop a common vision with coastal residents intended to guide parish-specific decision-making in coming decades relative to projected flood risks. The Louisiana Office of Community Development’s Disaster Recovery Unit, in partnership with the Foundation for Louisiana’s Coastal Resilience Leverage Fund and the elected leadership of the parish, is coordinating the LA SAFE planning initiative. The planning process is a key step in the implementation of LA SAFE, a $40 million initiative funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Once plans are developed, the LA SAFE team will use the balance of funds to invest in proposed programs and projects. LA SAFE is a community-focused resilience and adaptation policy framework complementing the state’s Coastal Master Plan.
About Foundation for Louisiana—The mission of 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 throughout the state towards rebuilding a better Louisiana.