With no yearly flood from the Mississippi River to deposit silt, a football field of land every hour is lost along the Louisiana coast to the Gulf of Mexico. More often than not the rising water is viewed from sea level, but what goes unnoticed is the beautiful yet haunting view from above, a view I am all too familiar with. With the help of my grandfather, I took to the skies by way of an airplane to capture the marsh landscape and the water encroaching on it.
Canals dug by oil companies are now surrounded by a vast body of water due to the salt water intrusion they allowed to occur unhindered, harming the vegetation that protected the land they were trying to access. Levees and flood gates are the modern remedies to the age old battle of erosion. Rising High is an investigation of the ways humans and nature interact to create the landscape of modern Southern Louisiana.
AT The end of the road
Much of the homeland I wandered as a child will soon be underwater. My native terrain will not disappear from maps by way of biblical flood or ruptured levees, but through the patient process of coastal erosion. Every day, the soil that has defined my family for generations gives way to the gulf that has defined us equally. A childhood living “down the bayou” has made me a firsthand witness to the threat that land erosion poses to both the culture and physical landscape of southern Louisiana. As years go by, the loss of culture has become just as evident as the loss of land in Cocodrie, a small fishing village in Terrebonne Parish.
Without the land, the culture cannot thrive. As a photographer, my reaction to the degradation of this place is to preserve its essence through a documentary lens. Through my work, I attempt to save what life is left along the dead-end highways of south Louisiana. I am searching for clues of the ways life continues to exist in a disappearing place. The history of this place, my ability to watch it age, and the sense of urgency to capture it before it’s gone all drew me to create this body of work. “At the End of the Road” serves as my own record of a place I hold dear.