Testimonials

The extensive analysis that underlies Louisiana’s 2012 Coastal Master Plan confirmed what those in south Louisiana already know: our coast and its people are in the midst of a catastrophe that requires immediate and large scale action. Our analysis revealed good news too: we have tools that can combat this disaster. Given all that is at stake and all the opportunities we have to make a real difference for our coast, we hope that this plan will encourage all of us who live in coastal Louisiana to come together and chart a new future.

Below represents a continuation of that spirit of coming together, to chart a new future, and to demonstrate a collective commitment to our coast. Please take some time to explore the interactive map below and learn more about some of those that have submitted testimonials showing how they are committed to our coast.

SASSAFRAS LOUISIANA youth organization

Why is coastal Louisiana important to you?

Louisiana – because of its food, people, music, wildlife, natural environment, and overall rhythm of life – exerts an invisible pull on most of its citizens, especially us. If coastal Louisiana were gone, the lives we know and love would not exist.

Why did you decide to get involved in these or other coastal planning efforts?

We all have specific ties to the coast, including ties to the oil, seafood, and boating industries. We are connected to coastal Louisiana in a way that makes us want to fight for our futures. As a youth organization, we truly feel as though our voice is strong enough to contribute to saving this place we so dearly love.

“We were born here; we grew up here; and we plan to grow old here."

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Charlotte Bollinger
Executive Vice President, Bollinger Shipyards, Inc.

Why is coastal Louisiana important to you?

The Barataria/Terrebonne estuaries are the fastest eroding land lost region of Louisiana. This land is where I live and work and matters to those who live here and to the nation. We provide an access to the energy corridor for this country.

Why did you decide to get involved in these or other coastal planning efforts?

We are at the 11th hour to save this area. We need a WILL of our people and our government (local, state, and federal) to do the right things to save the coast. We need to introduce fresh water from the Mississippi River back into the marshes. The Gulf is now coming at us east and west as well as from the south. There is little time to recreate what helped make the marshes, but there is time. It is amazing how little time it took to rebuild land where this has happened. In fact, these are the only areas that building is naturally occurring. All coastal dredging fill must be put on barrier islands. It is making a huge difference whenever this is done. Flying from Grand Isle to Lockport 20 years ago and seeing how horrific the situation was is what got me engaged as a coastal advocate.

“If we don’t keep the strong focus going, there will be no going back. I am very grateful to the governor’s leadership on making it happen."

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Charlotte Rizzo
Librarian (Wetlands Instructor) Lower School French

Why is coastal Louisiana important to you?

I have lived in Louisiana all my life. I cannot imagine my children and grandchildren having to leave this area. I can no longer be passive in the realization that loss of our coastline is devastating to our very existence. There is too much at stake. We become vulnerable in surviving strong storms and destructive hurricanes. The amazing wildlife that depends on the coastline will continue to lose their habitat and nesting area. As an educator I am passionate about educating young children to be vigilant protectors of all Louisiana has to offer. I have a responsibility to present the facts as they are today in hopes that they will realize they must make a difference starting now.

Why did you decide to get involved in these or other coastal planning efforts?

To know Louisiana is to love Louisiana. However, we must do more if we are to preserve our way of life for future generations. The devastating loss of wetlands, wildlife and coastline, recently magnified by the oil spill, inspired me to begin a program on this subject for our young students at St. Elizabeth Seton School. We call ourselves “Wetland Protectors.” Our motto is “Our wetlands, Our Responsibility.” We joined forces with the LSU Agricultural Center and we have had experience in planting as well as hands on activities in a Wetland environment. Our leaders Mindy Brooks and Ashley Mullins have been invaluable in sharing their knowledge of the wetlands. It is our hope that through education, the students will develop an awareness and responsibility to earn the reputation as Wetland Protectors.

“I’m a lifelong resident of Louisiana and I am passionate about educating young children so they too may become passionate about preserving all that is Louisiana, and I’m committed to our coast."

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Anne M. Milling
Founder, Women of the Storm

Why is coastal Louisiana important to you?

As a native New Orleanian, we recognize the need for a healthy, secure coast not only for hurricane protection, but for the health of America.

Why did you decide to get involved in these or other coastal planning efforts?

This is critical to the future of our state and country!

Without a strong, healthy coast not only do we lose but so does America. Think of the loss of shipping (40% of all commerce traverses the mighty Mississippi), energy (30% of oil and gas crosses our fragile coast); environment – largest habitat in America; seafood – 33% of all seafood from our precious waters and of course south Louisiana culture with its two million residents! We can’t afford to wait to begin serious efforts!

“We can’t afford to wait to begin serious efforts!"

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Denise Reed
Professor, University of New Orleans

Why is coastal Louisiana important to you?

Coastal Louisiana is where I live and where I have made both a life and a career. It’s a world class ecosystem that’s in serious trouble. But it’s amazing how, despite long-term problems of the coast and the peril we face every storm season, how everyone stays because it’s important to them – their homes, their families, their livelihoods are here. Outside of the major cities, the small bayou communities are very relaxed places to live – the presence of water and natural lands – marshes, swamps, and woods – make it very peaceful.

Why did you decide to get involved in these or other coastal planning efforts?

This is a place where the problems are challenging and there are no easy fixes. It’s a system where economy, society, and environment all face problems in the future and where, I hope, science can help inform some real solutions. Early on, almost 20 years ago, planning for protection and restoration pretty much ignored what we were learning about the coast and how it works. We have done a good job on fixing that – with the latest knowledge and tools being applied. But having the knowledge and using it to plan isn’t the end of the story. The real difference is not the plan itself but getting things on the ground that make a real difference in supporting sustainable economy, society, and environment. We still have a long way to go to make that difference.

“I think this is a problem we can solve, I think I can help, and I play to win. "

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Eric Shaw
Vice President of Programs and Policy Foundation for Louisiana

Why is coastal Louisiana important to you?

Coastal Louisiana is important for protecting wildlife, preserving historic communities, protecting all Louisiana from sea level rise, and the impact from storms.

Why did you decide to get involved in these or other coastal planning efforts?

I was so excited to participate in the planning process.  It was a pleasure to collaborate with a broad and representative team who truly care about the coast and brought diverse perspectives on how Louisianans use the coast and how it must be preserved.  In working with communities around the coast as a planner and in philanthropy, it is clear that we all value the coast and are committed to its preservation.

“I’m a new transplant to Louisiana who loves nature, the unique culture of people, and the great bounty that produces delicious food.  And that’s why I am committed to the coast."

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Robert Twilley
Vice President for Research
University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Why is coastal Louisiana important to you?

Professionally, restoring the Mississippi River Delta is one of the most demanding challenges to demonstrate how people can live with nature in deltaic environments that provide some of the richest economic resources in energy, navigation, and fisheries to the nation. The challenge is to find a way to accommodate multiple uses within the rich natural and economic resources to define how we as a society will sustain joint ownership between nature and human societies. There is much at risk; both to citizens of Louisiana and to us as a nation to provide leadership in how human societies will manage the tremendous services that nature provides to people free of charge.

Personally, I live here. I view this region as one of the most bountiful in natural resource wealth that keeps you engaged in the face of tragedy. It is a natural wonder that moves the soul, and entertains you with both recreational and cultural resources. It is a unique place where my kids now call home. So it is now a more special place that I call home. And the value of home provides the personal passion to try and change the outcome of a natural resource tragedy.

Why did you decide to get involved in these or other coastal planning efforts?

Professionally, to change how a system is managed to sustain what the delta provides to both the natural, economic, and cultural heritage of this region and the nation. To find a way for humans to live and work in a natural landscape that relies so much on critical dynamic processes. Find a way to live with nature in a deltaic coast. Can we set the example? Can we apply all the knowledge and technical training to solve a problem? Can we make this a better place for future generations?

“It is a natural wonder that moves the soul, and entertains you with both recreational and cultural resources. It is a unique place where my kids now call home"

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Ryan Lambert
President of Cajun Fishing Adventures

Why is coastal Louisiana important to you?

The Louisiana coast is where I have made a living for 31 years now. I have seen the best fishing and hunting that our nation has to offer. I have also watched as our coast has disappeared before my eyes.

Why did you decide to get involved in these or other coastal planning efforts?

I decided years ago to bring attention to our erosion problems. Making sure that I mention restoration every chance that I had an audience. I know that without coastal restoration generations to come have no chance of seeing the great wonders of the outdoors that I have witnessed.

Saving the Louisiana coast is the single most important environmental issue facing our nation. Whatever your interest might be, greenhouse gases, global warming, dead zone in the gulf, seafood, oil, shipping or just the best hunting and fishing available, coastal restoration has an answer to your interest. This is why I am committed to the Louisiana coast and I think this is reason for you to get committed as well.

“Saving the Louisiana coast is the single most important environmental issue facing our nation."

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Ted Falgout
member of Governor’s Advisory Committee on Coastal Protection and Restoration

Why is coastal Louisiana important to you?

Some of my first and fondest memories are of my father taking me trapping with him by pirogue almost 60 years ago and ever since that time I have had a great interest and love for the uniqueness and productivity of the Louisiana Coast. As an avid outdoorsman (on the fringe of obsessive), a co-owner of an alligator farming business, a fisheries biologist, and a former Port Manager, I have had the unique opportunity to be extremely involved in Coastal issues for the past 4 decades. The coast is the landscape where I play, work, and live, so it simply forms the fabric of my existence. Given that, it is extremely important to me!

Why did you decide to get involved in these or other coastal planning efforts?

Because Coastal Louisiana is so important to me and my way of life, and because of the changes in landscape and its inhabitants that I have personally witnessed, I feel that I should be involved in the decision making process that will ultimately decide its future.

In my opinion, there is no other place that offers more diversity in natural resources, more productivity from its estuaries and because of its tremendous challenges, no place more needy of devotion to sustaining this great Delta into the future. It is simply where I plan to live and die, and I would not feel whole if I didn’t do my part in sustaining this treasure for future generations.

“ It is simply where I plan to live and die, and I would not feel whole if I didn’t do my part in sustaining this treasure for future generations."

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Gerald Jeffery Schouest
Chairman of Coastal Zone Management Committee for Terrebonne Parish

Why is coastal Louisiana important to you?

Coastal Louisiana is important to me because it provides a way of life that South Louisiana people love. The coast provides us with jobs in the oil and seafood industry and recreational pleasure in the form of fishing and hunting and also provides protection from storms.

Why did you decide to get involved in these or other coastal planning efforts?

I decided to get involved in coastal planning efforts because I am a person that is in the wetlands weekly and I see first-hand the loss of this important habitat. I feel it is necessary to have a person who is familiar with this area involved in the planning efforts. I know what needs to be done to slow down or reverse the loss of this area.

I’m a 69 year lifelong resident of Terrebonne Parish and here Is why I am committed to our coast. I was raised enjoying the life in the wetlands. I have seen first-hand the demise of this area. As an adolescent, I was privileged to be involved with my grandparents who trawled and trapped for a living. I have fond memories of spending my school vacations with my grandfather on his trawl boat, sleeping under mosquito netting, with no air conditioning and working hard to survive making a living in the wetlands. I also remember living in a 14 x 14 foot tarpaper camp during the school Christmas holidays with my grandparents. They had no running water, no electricity, and used a potbelly stove for cooking and heating. As a young person, I enjoyed every moment and would like my 9 grandchildren to have the ability to build their own memories in this beautiful environment.

“Coastal Louisiana is important to me because it provides a way of life that South Louisiana people love."

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This could be you

Tell us how you’re committed to our coast by emailing us at MasterPlan@la.gov

This could be you

Tell us how you’re committed to our coast by emailing us at MasterPlan@la.gov

This could be you

Tell us how you’re committed to our coast by emailing us at MasterPlan@la.gov

Are you also committed to our coast? If you are interested in submitting your own testimonial and having it featured on this map, please email us at MasterPlan@la.gov for more information on how to get involved!