Riverland documents the impact of a fallout of the Coronavirus, the B.P. oil spill, and Hurricane Katrina-triple whammy, on Buras, a diverse fishing community in Plaquemines Parish along the Gulf of Mexico, roughly 62 miles away from New Orleans in Louisiana. Buras has long been confronting marshland loss and flooding. The B.P. oil spill and Hurricane Katrina exacerbated the environmental and economic conditions in this community as fishermen saw a steady decrease in seafood and acceleration of land loss that permanently affected the region. The arrival of COVID-19 in 2020 pushed Buras further into financial hardship when fishing docks and restaurants struggled to survive, and a cohesive culture that crossed the race line is now falling apart. A coastal community, Buras also found itself even more vulnerable facing climate change as it is already below sea level, and its residents live between levees. Amid the pandemic, civil unrest, and an economic recession, Buras serves as the microcosm of a broader picture of the lack of representation, the inadequacy of financial and adaptation resources that rural America is going through now. Despite all the difficulties, residents of Buras remain self-reliant and resilient. But the question is, for how long?
This project was made possible with the Student Enhancement Award from Ohio University.