Lecture: Can New Orleans Survive: Coastal Destruction, the Future of Louisiana, and The Most Ambitious Environmental Lawsuit Ever.
John M. Barry is a prize-winning author whose books have won multiple awards. His work for Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America involved him in several areas of public policy including water issues and flood protection. In 2013 Barry became a chief architect in a suit against oil and gas companies for damage done to the Louisiana coast. His efforts were detailed in a 2014 New York Times Magazine cover story.
After Hurricane Katrina, the Louisiana congressional delegation asked him to chair a bipartisan working group on flood protection, and from its founding in 2007 until October 2013 he served on the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority East, which oversees levee districts in metropolitan New Orleans, and on the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, which is responsible for the state’s hurricane protection. On July 24, 2013, that board filed suit against Exxon Mobil, Shell, BP, Chevron, and 93 other oil, gas, and pipeline companies for the damage they have done to the flood protection system in the board’s jurisdiction. He was probably the chief architect of the suit, and was removed from the board because of his role in the lawsuit. Barry will discuss the lawsuit including very recent developments.
Barry’s talk is presented in Confluence, a wide-ranging series of interdisciplinary programs associated with rivers, inspired by Alison Saar’s Breach, an exhibition informed by the Great Mississippi River Flood of 1927.