Istand for what I stand on,” the Kentucky writer Wendell Berry once wisely observed. Berry made the point that our sense of who we are is often strongly shaped by our sense of where we are. This isn’t just a philosophical issue at the southernmost tip of Louisiana, where landmarks are literally dropping from the map — a dreadful consequence of coastal erosion. As The Advocate recently reported, updated maps from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration no longer feature some names that dotted previous maps. More than 30 places, including English Bayou and Fleur Pond and Yellow Cotton Bay, are no longer there. Louisiana has lost 1,880 square miles since the 1930s.
This crisis underscores the urgency of ongoing efforts to preserve Louisiana’s remaining coastline. Otherwise, we’re destined to watch more of the state’s geography slip into the sea.