Riverland explores the impact of climate change and man-made disasters on a coastal community in rural Louisiana. It tells the story of Buras, once a prosperous and vibrant fishing village 62 miles Southeast of New Orleans, that has been suffering permanent economic and environmental damage from Hurricane Katrina, among other frequent and intensified storm surges. The long-lasting impact of the BP oil spill exacerbated the loss of wetlands that is vital in the battle against storm surges and rising sea levels. The arrival of COVID-19 has stalled fishing operations, shut down local restaurants and markets, and sent the community to more uncertainty. The triple-whammy, combined with a lack of financial resources and political representation, have made it difficult for Buras to adapt in face of a changing climate. Locals struggle to make a living on fishing, and a cohesive culture that crossed the race line is now falling apart. Despite all, residents of Buras remain self-reliant and resilient. But the question is, for how long?
This reporting was made possible with the Student Enhancement Award from Ohio University and the Inaugural Scholarship from Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) & Getty Images.