Report: Coastal Louisiana facing more and greater challenges

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"Coastal Louisiana has never been an easy place to live," says Mark Davis, Director of the Tulane Institute for Water Resource Law and Policy.  Davis says communities have always faced the challenges of storms, eroded islands and disappearing stocks of seafood and shellfish upon which many of these communities survive.  

"What's new is the sense of scale and urgency and I think in some ways we saw that with Tropical Storm Barry," Davis says.  One overtopping of a levee at Myrtle Grove Marina threatened to leave communities and hundreds of residents on the west side of Plaquemines peninsula marooned.  

The report seeks to help communities find their tipping point.  At which point a community decides to dissolve or pick up and move to higher ground.  Possible reasons for why residents would leave ranged from the availability of jobs and necessary services to flood insurance and future home values.

The same population decline that caused local businesses and fishing companies to exit also significantly reduced tax bases, which has left parishes like Cameron struggling to cover the costs of basic services such as paying wages to their firefighters.