The Gulf Coast of the United States is a wonder. Its marshlands are breeding grounds and nurseries for ocean life that keep the nation’s fishing and shrimping industries afloat. Its corridors of petrochemical plants and offshore drilling platforms are the lifeblood of the fossil fuel industry. Its pristine beaches and warm breezes drive the tourism industry.
But these qualities make it especially vulnerable — to sea level rise and increasingly intense hurricanes, to economic devastation and pollution, to poor health outcomes for those living near industrial facilities and rampant development that destroys fragile ecosystems.
Southerly tells the stories of challenges and solutions in the Gulf States of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas. We bring context to the constant changes, and cover communities often overlooked, like tribal nations who have called the coast home for generations, and small, rural places that don’t receive the same attention and aid as large cities.
Our Gulf Coast correspondent is Carly Berlin. If you live on the coast and have a story tip or know of an issue that isn’t covered enough, contact us using this form.
- Louisiana government researcher says she was fired for raising alarm about dolphin deaths
According to studies, a major coastal project could lead to more dolphin fatalities. This story was published in partnership with Louisiana Illuminator. Gulf Coast researchers are…
- ‘Communities shouldn’t have to rely on miracles’: A conversation with Samantha Montano
We sat down with the disaster researcher to discuss her forthcoming book, Disasterology: Dispatches from the Frontlines of the Climate Crisis.
- ‘The water’s coming in’: How Grand Isle residents are coping as their home washes into the sea
Without more sand, Louisiana’s barrier islands are shrinking at a rapid rate as sea levels rise, and becoming more costly to maintain. This story was published…
- How we made a mental health resource guide for southwest La. residents
Mental health was a recurring theme in our series on hurricane recovery during the pandemic. Download the guide here. After Hurricanes Laura and Delta hit Lake…
- ‘People are wiped out’: Costs pile up as hurricane season begins
Hurricanes, a winter storm, and spring floods have left low-income Gulf Coast residents exhausted and cash strapped before this year’s season, with no significant aid in sight.
- ‘Hurricane fatigue’: Gulf Coast emergency managers still rebuilding as they prep for more storms
Local officials are working to inform the public while still recovering from 2020’s record-breaking season—all on tight budgets.
- Love bugs
We asked readers to submit memories and reflections about what fireflies and cicadas mean to you. Here are some of them:
- The population of Lake Charles, La. shrank more than any U.S. city in 2020
New USPS data tells a story about climate change and displacement.
- The multibillion dollar question: What will it take to fix the South’s broken water systems?
The winter storm revealed the fragility of rural and urban water systems. Biden’s new infrastructure plan could help improve them — but it’s only a start.
- In Louisiana, hotel shelters wind down as COVID-19 and housing insecurity persist
This story was originally published by The Current. Pillows are in short supply at the Lafayette warehouse operated by the Acadiana Regional Coalition on Homelessness and…
- How Pensacola’s Black grocers are providing access to fresh, affordable food
In a county with high rates of food insecurity, longtime residents are working to fill the gaps.
- Field Notes: How we reported our series on Hurricane Laura recovery
For seven months, Southerly has stayed on a story that received far too little media attention. Here’s how we did it.
- Nobody warned Texans about the public health risks of the winter storm
Without advance warning about the true scale of power outages and the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning, local officials say they were caught off guard, leaving residents to fend for themselves.
- How southwest Louisiana mobilized to shelter unhoused people during the winter storm
Six months after Hurricane Laura, Lake Charles is still in a state of disrepair. The deep freeze has slowed recovery even more.
- Mississippi biomass facility fined for emitting three times more air pollution than permitted
Wood pellet manufacturing plants have underreported emissions at plants throughout the South, which are most often in Black and low-income communities.