Ain't There No More
Louisiana's Disappearing Coastal Plain
A harrowing account of coastal erosion, long neglect, and a man-made disaster in the Bayou State
Winner of the 2018 Louisiana Literary Award given by the Louisiana Library Association
For centuries, outlanders have openly denigrated Louisiana's coastal wetlands residents and their stubborn refusal to abandon the region's fragile prairies tremblants despite repeated natural and, more recently, man-made disasters. Yet, the cumulative environmental knowledge these wetlands survivors have gained through painful experiences over the course of two centuries holds invaluable keys to the successful adaptation of modern coastal communities throughout the globe. As Hurricane Sandy recently demonstrated, coastal peoples everywhere face rising sea levels, disastrous coastal erosion, and, inevitably, difficult lifestyle choices.
Along the Bayou State's coast the most insidious challenges are man-made. Since channelization of the Mississippi River in the wake of the 1927 flood, which diverted sediments and nutrients from the wetlands, coastal Louisiana has lost to erosion, subsidence, and rising sea levels a land mass roughly twice the size of Connecticut. State and national policymakers were unable to reverse this environmental catastrophe until Hurricane Katrina focused a harsh spotlight on the human consequences of eight decades of neglect. Yet, even today, the welfare of Louisiana's coastal plain residents remains, at best, an afterthought in state and national policy discussions.
For coastal families, the Gulf water lapping at the doorstep makes this morass by no means a scholarly debate over abstract problems. Ain't There No More renders an easily read history filled with new insights and possibilities. Rare, previously unpublished images documenting a disappearing way of life accompany the narrative. The authors bring nearly a century of combined experience to distilling research and telling this story in a way invaluable to Louisianans, to policymakers, and to all those concerned with rising sea levels and seeking a long-term solution.
"This gorgeous book . . . filled with historic photos and maps, examines efforts to harness the Mississippi River, the role of agriculture and industrialization and what the future holds. "- Cheré Coen, Louisiana Book News
"Regardless of who bears the blame for any environmental fractures in antiquated or modern times, the world of Brasseaux and Davis is still a beautiful one, more worthy than ever of care and preservation. "- Christina Leo, In Register
"I'm reading Ain't There No More and in my opinion it's an epic analysis of the greatest environmental disaster in the history of the United States. "- James Carville
"Brasseaux and Davis have written a beautiful, eye-catching book which would be worthwhile just on those grounds, but its importance goes well beyond that. It is a reminder—sometimes a painful one—that nothing stays the same and that we are the architects of both our success and our failures. It is simultaneously an inspiring, nostalgic, and cautionary read. "- Mark Davis, director of the Tulane Institute on Water Resources Law and Policy, Tulane Law School