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 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Outdated infrastructure, incomplete reporting, and lax environmental regulations make the extent of spills and leaks difficult to assess.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.
- Too heartbreaking to leave, too expensive to stay: Louisiana coastal communities left in limbo
Disaster aid budgets are being stretched thin, leaving many people needing to elevate or sell their homes in limbo.
- ‘It’s a movement’: Generations of Gulf Coast residents protest police violence, racism
From small towns to large cities, Black communities who have long faced environmental injustice have spent the last two weeks protesting police brutality and systemic racism.
- Struggling Florida Panhandle towns face tough reopening decisions
The coronavirus pandemic has stalled local economies still reeling from the effects of recent hurricanes.
- How a coastal Louisiana tribe is using generations of resilience to handle the pandemic
The Grand Caillou/Dulac Band of Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw have long practiced self-isolation and sustainable food production.
- Emergency managers work nonstop to prepare communities for hurricanes during pandemic
COVID-19 response is stretching already thin resources in counties along the Gulf Coast.
- At ‘ground zero’ of BP spill, Louisiana community confronts new oil and gas project
Gulf Coast groups work to keep coastal restoration projects on track and polluting industries at bay during the coronavirus pandemic.
- Welcome to our new Gulf Coast correspondent
Carly Berlin is a reporter based in New Orleans.
- With Florida Keys economy at a standstill from COVID-19, fishing guides worry about how to make a living
Recreational fishing plays a massive role in Florida’s tourism economy.