Coastal land loss in Louisiana is more than just the loss of dirt; it represents the loss of communities and cultures, which is what a New Orleans-based artist wants to demonstrate on June 25.
On that day, buses will head out of New Orleans, and people from across the state are asked to join artist and project director Dawn DeDeaux along the road that leads to Isle de Jean Charles.
This island community in south Terrebonne Parish is the focus of a federal grant that will help residents relocate as coastal land loss continues to bring the Gulf of Mexico closer to their community.
“It’s something I’ve wanted to do for about a year and a half,” said DeDeaux, an artist who also won the 1976 Demolition Derby in what is now the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
“I think we’ve seen so many stunning and alarming photographs of coastal land loss,” she said. Now, she wants to put people in the middle of that loss.
Working as part of the art group Prospect New Orleans, DeDeaux is asking people to come down to this strip of land near Pointe-aux-Chenes.
The project, called “End of the Road,” is a public participation art installation that DeDeaux hopes will get at least 500 people to travel to this rural part of the coast.
Terrebonne Parish sheriff’s deputies will help with traffic control, and people driving to the event will be directed to park at a nearby school or church, from where they will be bused to the road.
People should arrive no later than 12:30 p.m. because at 1 p.m., the airplane from which the event will be photographed will be flying overhead. The photo shoot is expected to last about 30 minutes.
“At the very least, it’s getting people out of cities and down to the coast to experience the beauty,” DeDeaux said. “And to show solidarity with our neighbors who are right on the front line (of coastal land loss).”
Once people gather on this thin strip of road, DeDeaux will organize them into several formations to be filmed from the air, with the centerpiece spelling out “Home,” showing that “this isn’t land we want to lose. This is home,” she said.
The images and video produced during the day will be made available to anyone working on coastal issues, she said.
The event will be followed by music and food at the Pointe-aux-Chenes marina.
Although anyone is welcome to drive to the event, there will be two buses leaving at 10:30 a.m. from the Contemporary Arts Center at 900 Camp St. in New Orleans
“It’s a good cause they can show support and have a good time,” DeDeaux said.
People can register to participate at end-of-the-road.eventbrite.com.
Follow Amy Wold on Twitter, @awold10.