Southeastern Louisiana is a region defined by its symbiotic relationship with the natural environment. This low, flat terrain is defined by a continuous horizon; water and land – constantly fluctuating and often indistinguishable from one another – form the landscape. This area has provided a seemingly infinite bounty of resources — from renowned fisheries to some of the world’s most prolific oil and gas reserves. As a consequence, the region supports both a concentration of people with rich cultural ties to the land and an industrial infrastructure adapted-to and enmeshed-in the fabric of the communities and the environment. This landscape faces an uncertain future. Land loss, hyper-industrial development, and the rising sea challenge prospects for the region’s continued inhabitation. A paradoxical struggle – to maintain an association with the natural while the landscape and economy continue to bend to the resource extraction industry – defines contemporary Southeastern Louisiana. Tension between allegiance to environmental and economic drivers has created a contradictory condition of life where both inhabitants and the mythology of the place rely equally on opposing forces. The goal of this project was to represent these potentials and advocate for the advantages of a reframed debate. The work presented here begins with a list of considered declarations — some provocative, others benign — that serve as the foundation for a series of visual explorations of an environment re-centered to give advantage to these realities. Research, in the form of pages from a compendium of the collected material, serves as both argument and representation of what makes this region a compelling place for habitation and investigation.
A copy of the book can be purchased here.