Coastal exploitation, land loss, and hurricanes: A recipe for disaster

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43 Scopus citations


Southern Louisiana occupies a dynamic landscape, marked by coastal wetlands interrupted by both natural and human-made levees, and vulnerable to both the Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers and major storms coming off the Gulf of Mexico. It is also a region into which, for centuries, exiled and threatened populations have moved and found refuge. Systematic and dramatic changes along the entire reach of the Mississippi River coupled with activities within the region's wetlands such as levee construction, canal dredging, and petroleum extraction have contributed to both pollution and extensive coastal land loss. In this article, I discuss the recent hurricanes in light of the relationship between Louisiana and the rest of the United States and the environmental and community degradation that has occurred along the coast. I focus on petroleum development, the most recent and extensive natural resource to shape southern Louisiana's wealth and economy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)671-691
Number of pages21
JournalAmerican Anthropologist
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2006


  • Coastal erosion
  • Petroleum impacts
  • Political ecology
  • United States

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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