Some of the places hardest hit by Hurricane Ida’s Category 4 winds lie just south of New Orleans—a region of fishing villages, wildlife refuges, and oil and gas facilities. Once a site of healthy, expansive coastal wetlands, the region is now slowly eroding into the sea. It includes the Isle de Jean Charles, home to the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw Tribe, a community billed as the nation’s first climate refugees.
As Louisiana loses these wetlands at the rate of a football field per hour, it loses not only critical fisheries but also a buffer that protects New Orleans and other towns to the north from deadly storm surges coming off the Gulf of Mexico. Major hurricanes like Ida, in turn, hasten the