Community Resettlement Prospects in Southeast Louisiana

Community Resettlement Prospects in Southeast Louisiana: A Multidisciplinary Exploration of Legal, Cultural, and Demographic Aspects of Moving Individuals and Communities

This paper is a multidisciplinary approach to framing the potential for community resettlement
in Southeast Louisiana. The paper has three sections: a survey of legal mechanisms used by the
federal government to relocate individuals and resettle communities; a history of community
dislocation in Southeast Louisiana; and a demographic analysis of the Louisiana communities
facing the highest risk of displacement.

The Federal government has displaced individuals and communities for a wide variety of
reasons – from public development projects to national security concerns – and used a variety
of statutory authority. The statutes enabling the dislocation often have proven much more
effective at relocating individuals than resettling entire communities; however, history shows
both relocation and resettlement programs have a difficult time succeeding. Both federal and
local support and funding often prove unreliable or unsustainable.

The history of population dislocation in Southeast Louisiana is generally one of failed
government-intervention. Some communities have been driven away by flooding. Some have
disappeared as a result of public works projects. Still others have maintained community
integrity in spite of a lack of government consideration and assistance. Where resettlement
efforts have been undertaken, they have been curtailed or limited for political or philosophical
reasons. This history has led to an ingrained public distrust of relocation or resettlement
projects.

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