Nicholls State University recently hosted an exclusive screening of its captivating documentary focusing on Hurricane Ida and the recovery progress titled “Resurgence: From Ida to Recovery.” According to this press release from Nicholls, the highly anticipated event took place on Thursday, May 25, 2023, from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., unfolding in the Talbot Hall’s Mary and Al Danos Theater. Attendees were carefully selected through invitation, ensuring an intimate gathering of individuals eager to witness the remarkable film. The evening was not just about the documentary; it featured a coastal expert panel discussion and concluded with a networking reception, graciously sponsored by Entergy.
“Resurgence: From Ida to Recovery” provides a compelling narrative that chronicles the journey of Hurricane Ida through the eyes of those residing in Lafourche, Terrebonne, and Grand Isle. The documentary paints a vivid picture, offering a glimpse into the experiences of residents, government officials, community leaders, and meteorologists who weathered the storm’s fury. Nicholls State University took the helm in producing this extraordinary film, thanks to a generous grant from the Bayou Community Foundation’s Bayou Recovery Fund for Hurricane Ida Relief.
As the fifth-largest storm ever to strike the United States, Hurricane Ida made landfall on the 16th anniversary of the infamous Hurricane Katrina. With maximum wind speeds reaching a staggering 150 mph, this Category 4 hurricane unleashed devastating winds and a destructive storm surge upon Louisiana’s vulnerable coastal regions. In fact, Ida holds the unfortunate distinction of being the second most-damaging hurricane to hit Louisiana since the catastrophic events of Katrina in 2005.
One cannot discuss the aftermath of Hurricane Ida without addressing the long-standing issue of coastal erosion. Over the years, the Barataria-Terrebonne basins have suffered the loss of approximately 600,000 acres of land. To put this into perspective, Louisiana loses an area equivalent to a football field of coastal islands and wetlands every 100 minutes. The state has experienced the highest rate of wetlands loss in the country, with a startling 80% accounting for the nation’s coastal wetland loss. More than 2,000 square miles, an area roughly the size of Delaware, has succumbed to the encroaching waters, transforming into open water.
In response to this pressing environmental crisis, Nicholls State University is taking proactive measures to preserve and protect the coastline from future storms. The university’s forthcoming Coastal Center, with construction slated to commence in the fall of 2023, represents a significant stride toward combating coastal erosion. The ambitious $21 million project will find its home on the Nicholls campus, precisely situated at the corner of Colonel Drive and Ardoyne Drive, directly across from Calecas Hall.
The Coastal Center will serve as a collaborative space, bringing together scientists from various institutions, including the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, the Water Institute of the Gulf, and Nicholls’ esteemed biological sciences and geomatics departments. This collective effort aims to advance research endeavors that will help repair and rebuild Louisiana’s receding coastline. The impact of this interdisciplinary collaboration cannot be overstated, as it signifies a united front against the challenges posed by coastal erosion.
In addition to its research initiatives, the Coastal Center at Nicholls State University will actively partner with the Bayou Region Incubator to foster the creation of jobs and small businesses that cater specifically to the coastal community. The expansive 227-acre Nicholls Farm will serve as a real-world testing ground for the center’s coastal research, providing practical applications and invaluable insights.
The documentary screening and subsequent discussions at the event shed light on the challenges faced by coastal communities and the urgent need for proactive measures to address the issue of coastal erosion. Nicholls State University’s commitment to research, innovation, and collaboration is commendable, and its efforts through the Coastal Center are poised to make a tangible difference in the restoration and preservation of Louisiana’s coastline.
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