Data suggests bayou communities are moving northward, accelerated by Ida

Jun 26, 2023

The Water Institute's Senior Research Scientist Scott Hemmerling has studied coastal population migration trends from the 1950s through to present caused by economic and environmental factors.

He said coastal communities tend to want to remain where they have formed, and that Hurricane Ida alone will likely not force Terrebonne residents to move northward past Houma, with one exception.

"It's never going to be a singular event that drives people out. If you see a second Ida or something of that level hit Houma, that's where you might start seeing the population loss," he said. "I think Houma is kind of the magnet for a lot of those bayou communities to move up to."

People will move more northward for the levee protection system but not vacate entirely. Communities are built on a foundation comprised of family, their homes and the community centers. As each piece is removed, the likelihood of a person moving away increases, Hemmerling explained.

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