St. John the Baptist Parish Projects Selected for 2018 Funding
St. John the Baptist Parish
Bisected by the Mississippi River and bordered by three lakes, Lake Maurepas, Lake Pontchartrain and Lac des Allemands, St. John the Baptist Parish’s unique location makes it a prime location for agricultural activities and an abundant amount of naturally occurring resources — whether it be natural gas, petroleum, sulphur, salt, premium quality sands, sugarcane farming or seafood. As one of the state’s “River Parishes,” St. John the Baptist is home to chemical- and petroleum-processing facilities, which are primary sources of employment in the region. As a parish that has abundant low-risk flood areas, St. John the Baptist Parish has the opportunity to strategy for what a future with more population looks. This is important to ensure that environmental risks are not worsened, but instead are improved, and that present and future infrastructure and development decisions do not increase risk or tax current infrastructure.
See What You’ve Missed
We brought the best land loss and flood risk modeling in the world to the table from our partners at the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority alongside an exceptional team of public sector, philanthropic, non-profit and private sector partners. Residents brought their own personal experience from communities across parishes as well as their goals and vision for a Louisiana we know and love.
Residents described challenges, strengths and opportunities for the future.
505 participants | 2,000 ideas
The first round of meetings included six community meetings across the six pilot parishes. The LA SAFE team showed information on historic land loss over the last 50 years as well as expected land loss in the next 50 years even with full implementation of the Coastal Master Plan. The team also discussed projected increased flood risk that results from the loss of our wetland buffer and the migration trends taking place across the LA SAFE region. As Louisianans have made the decision to relocate, we have seen resources for everyday services such as education, infrastructure and healthcare shift accordingly.
At roundtable discussions, groups of six to eight residents talked about the ways they have seen land loss impact changes to their environment, economies and communities in their lifetimes. They also discussed what they think are the most important things to protect, and their hopes for the future of their parish.
The project team organized all of the comments into strengths, challenges and opportunities.
In St. John the Baptist Parish, residents identified population loss, loss of business and industry, and flooding as three of the biggest challenges to the parish, and quality of life and community closeness as two of the biggest strengths. They hoped to capitalize on opportunities including diversifying the economy, improving education and skills training, and improving transportation and drainage.
Meeting Summary Packet
We held 21 meetings at 19 locations within the six pilot parishes. Residents recommended short-term, medium-term and long-term strategies according to projected low, moderate and high flood risk across LA SAFE parishes.
551 participants | 3,300 ideas
The LA SAFE Round 2 meetings focused on conversations in smaller communities. These meetings occurred in 19 specific towns and places suggested by residents in the first round of meetings. Three of the meetings were for non-English speaking communities. These smaller meetings allowed the team to present a more in-depth view of the social, environmental and economic trends in each community, and to conduct a more focused conversation about adaptation strategies to address increased flood risk.
The LA SAFE team identified the most discussed topics from the first round of meetings, and created nine question card topics sorted into three categories: Economy & Jobs, Environment & Sustainability and Community & Culture. At the meeting, residents discussed one topic from each category, and placed ideas on the map provided. For each card, residents described short-term (within 10 years), medium-term (within 25 years) and long-term (within 50 years) solutions for adapting to future land change and increased flood risk. Looking 50 years back and 50 years forward, residents discussed the challenges and opportunities for themselves, for their children and grandchildren as well as generations to come.
In this series of 21 community meetings, residents pinpointed challenges, proposed solutions and collectively described a future across different types of environments and different levels of risk. The project team combined their ideas and mapped proposed strategies. These community recommendations will form the basis for the projects, programs and policies that LA SAFE pursues. The project team will review these ideas, taking into consideration current and future environmental risk, as well as the best practices in planning.
In St. John the Baptist Parish, meetings were held for the Reserve/Garyville/LaPlace, Pleasure Bend, and Wallace/Edgard areas. Stormwater management, development, property values and cost of living, and quality of life were the issues residents in these areas discussed most at the second round of meetings.
Meeting Summary Packet
We returned to each parish with a broad vision for our coast, including more specific visions for communities according to low, moderate and high flood risk. Residents evaluated these visions and prioritized more detailed strategies in table discussions.
During the Round 3 meetings, the project team presented an overall vision based on the combination of three criteria: The vision residents described at previous community meetings, current and future environmental conditions and the best planning practices.
At the meetings, residents engaged in a series of instant polling questions using a real-time polling tool, and then evaluated the overall vision presented by the project team. Then, they reviewed and gave preference feedback on a wide range of strategies that the project team is considering for inclusion in the final strategy. Residents used stickers to indicate which strategies are the best fit for their parish and added more ideas and comments.
Activity two focused on the range of projects, programs and policies that residents had proposed according to low, moderate and high flood risk in previous meetings. Residents discussed the strategies shown and used green and red stickers to indicate which strategies they liked or disliked for each of those flood risk levels.
In St. John the Baptist Parish, a strong majority of residents agreed or strongly agreed with the visions presented for the parish. Some of the most commonly selected strategies across all topics reflect protecting their parish history and preserving their communities. Strategies such as “Increase Affordable Housing Options” and the highest ranked strategy across all categories, “Preserve Historic Areas & Buildings,” revealed the residents’ commitment to their community and culture. In the Stormwater Management & Greenspace category, the participants emphasized parish-wide maintenance on existing canals, drains, and culverts. They also wanted to see complete streets with safe sidewalks and improvements to existing infrastructure. Residents’ selections also underscored their desire to provide options to retain youth in the Parish. Among top strategies were “Job Training Programs,” specifically “Coastal Restoration Construction Jobs & Training,” culturally-focused programs for youth and a rail system that would increase access to regional amenities and opportunities.
Meeting Summary Packet
ROUND 4: COMMUNITY MEETINGS
In this fourth round of engagement, residents had the opportunity to review and provide feedback on the draft strategies developed by the LA SAFE team after several rounds of collaborative meetings over the course of the year. These draft strategies were presented in a variety of settings included focused discussions with participants from previous meetings, including public and elected officials; casual open-house gatherings; and table presentations at local festivals and other public spaces. The planning team has taken these final suggestions into consideration as they completed the design of the potential adaptation strategies for each parish that addresses challenges and opportunities unique to that parish.
Meeting Summary Packet
ROUND 5: COMMUNITY MEETINGS
In this fifth round of engagement, residents had the opportunity to offer their preference on the final product of our collaboration together, learn more about what is next for thier parish’s adaptation strategy and celebrate everyone’s hard work with music, art, food and other staples of your parish’s diverse culture.
During our fifth and final round of meetings, residents also had the opportunity to rank their favorite projects that have come as a result of our work together. Preferences provided by parish residents will be a key component in determining which catalytic project or program will be implemented in your parish.
St. John the Baptist Parish Pilot Project Boards
Meeting Summary Packet
We Need You! Get Involved Today.
Interested in leading a table discussion at the next meeting or hosting a community event? Let us know! We look forward to having you assist us in creating a better future environment for Louisiana.