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.
- 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.
- 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.
- ‘It’s just a vicious cycle’: Evictions, homelessness surge in southwest Louisiana after hurricanes
A pre-existing housing crisis in Lake Charles, along with slow federal aid, have left some renters unhoused for nearly six months.
- Alabama deems execution an ‘essential function’ while leading in COVID-19 deaths per capita
The state plans to execute Willie B. Smith III on Feb. 11 in a prison on the coast. Experts worry it will only lead to more deaths.
- The South’s communication infrastructure can’t withstand climate change
Much of the South’s power and internet infrastructure is decades old, and increasingly failing communities during extreme weather events.
- ‘They’re so weary’: Louisiana teachers recover from back-to-back hurricanes during the pandemic
Displaced students and teachers balancing storm recovery and a mix of in-person and virtual classes need support, but most schools lack funding or capacity for mental health services.
- Louisiana chemical facilities are ‘ticking time bombs’ during hurricanes. Residents are left in the dark about the risks.
An analysis by WWNO/WRKF and Southerly reveals worst-case scenarios for toxic air pollutant releases or chemical explosions by 30 facilities in Louisiana.
- Toxic spills, pollutants threaten Gulf Coast communities after hurricanes pass
Outdated infrastructure, incomplete reporting, and lax environmental regulations make the extent of spills and leaks difficult to assess.
- Public records show a Louisiana lawmaker is getting paid to push a proposed pipeline through Black, Indigenous communities
The 280-mile Delta Express pipeline would connect an existing natural gas pipeline in northern Louisiana to a liquid natural gas facility in its southernmost parish.
- Coastal Louisiana tribes team up with biologist to protect sacred sites from rising seas
Backfilling oil and gas canals could be a more affordable and immediate solution to restore damaged wetlands.
- Lessons from Hurricane Katrina: A Q&A with General Honoré
Fifteen years after the storm, the former leader of the Department of Defense’s response talks about his environmental advocacy work, disaster preparation, and the pandemic.