Copyright (c) 2005 Loyola Law Review
Loyola Law Review
ARTICLE: LOUISIANA WETLANDS AND WATER LAW: RECENT JURISPRUDENCE AND POST-KATRINA AND RITA IMPERATIVES
51 Loy. L. Rev. 861
Ryan M. Seidemann*
This ominous National Hurricane Center advisory at midnight on August 29, 2005, could not begin to capture the devastation that Hurricane Katrina was about to unleash on Southeast Louisiana. As the storm surge pounded the levees they succumbed to the battering, failing in three locations and spilling the contents of Lake Pontchartrain into New Orleans. Flood waters poured into the bowl-shaped city, much of which lies below sea level, swamping virtually everything in their path.
In other parts of the State, the coastal storm surge brought substantial floodwaters into St. Bernard and Plaquemines parishes and Jefferson Parish was overcome by the massive amounts of rainfall. 2 When the storm passed, the path of devastation was staggering. Early estimates of the toll of Hurricane Katrina on South Louisiana top all previous damage costs from other tropical cyclones in the Unites States. 3 The storm flooded the entire New Orleans metropolitan area, displaced over a million people, obliterated wetlands, and spread contamination throughout the affected areas. 4
As if the damage wrought upon Louisiana from Katrina was not enough, less than a month later, Hurricane Rita hit the western portion of the State. 5 This storm devastated coastal communities in Cameron and Vermilion parishes and destroyed more of the State's precious wetlands. 6
Prior to these storms, there were numerous developments in the Louisiana jurisprudence affecting wetlands and water law within the State. These storms, however, brought the importance of these issues, and wetland areas in ...
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