Posted Oct 22, 2017 at 1:01 AM
Drafts of plans, projects and strategies to help Terrebonne Parish adapt to the changing coastal environment were unveiled at Rougarou Fest in Houma Saturday.
The drafts displayed by LA SAFE were crafted to help different areas that have flood risk adapt and thrive into the future, and residents were asked to fill give feedback by completing a survey.
LA SAFE, or Louisiana’s Strategic Adaptations for Future Environments, is tasked with helping six parishes, including Terrebonne and Lafourche, come up with community-focused plans and strategies to complement the state’s Coastal Master Plan.
Adaptation is as common to Louisiana as gumbo and Cajun culture, but it isn’t something that can happen in one place and in one way, said Justin Kozak, a researcher and policy analyst for the Center for Planning Excellence, which is working with LA SAFE.
“People that live in Chauvin have different needs than people who live in Houma,” Kozak said. “There is this sort of balancing act that if you want to adapt, you have to realize what your needs are in different places and how they differ. It’s a big picture, but it also happens on a local level.”
Some of the local strategies are having the parish use natural processes to help manage stormwater and reduce future flood risk, improve the quality of life and support the economy by upgrading boat launches, and updating ordinances to allow different types of housing and make walking and bicycling easier.
A proposed strategy for Houma is to encourage continued revitalization of the downtown area by planting trees, researching historic tax credits for restoration and rehabilitating bayou-front properties to use Bayou Terrebonne as an amenity.
The strategies were crafted after numerous meetings around the parish over the summer where residents shared their fears and ideas for the future regarding flooding and land loss.
Resident Patrick Gordon Sr., who volunteered with LA SAFE Saturday, said he’s mostly heard people say they want to adapt to living in Terrebonne Parish.
“People want to stay here,” said Gordon, who also works as a planning director with the South Central Planning and Development Commission. “They don’t want to be told to leave Terrebonne Parish and move somewhere else.”