Isle de Jean Charles (IDJC) is a place of exceptional beauty, biodiversity, and deep cultural roots. Though its physical landscape is a narrow strip of beautiful marshland off the Louisiana Coast, as with much of the Gulf Coast Region, the Island’s beauty cannot protect it from the natural and man-made disasters that have eroded its rich soil. Over the past 60 years, the Island has lost 98% of its land mass. Due to the long-term degradation of the Island, and the ever-increasing risks from climate change, the permanent residents and the State of Louisiana reached the conclusion that the IDJC community should resettle to higher ground.
As a result, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has provided resources to assist the IDJC residents to develop a new “resilient” settlement. A settlement that offers economic, environmental, cultural, and social sustainability for not only current IDJC residents, but also those who have already been displaced and future generations as well. This resettlement plan is a first of it’s kind in the world and will serve as a test and framework for how to respond to climate change in coastal communities. Ultimately, it will provide a new model for community resettlement that can be scaled and replicated.
With an awareness of the sensitive nature of such an endeavor and of the importance of maintaining cultures and traditions, CSRS is leading a multi-disciplinary team to complete a Community Master Plan for the resettlement of the Island’s residents to a new, culturally intact, and more resilient home. CSRS and the State are also working with residents and stakeholders to craft a strategy for accessing, honoring and utilizing the Island, as it makes its slow retreat into the Gulf of Mexico. Delivering these plans involves executing a comprehensive scope of work that includes:
“CSRS has demonstrated a firm understanding of how to address the residents’ employment, education, training, programming and community dynamics, in addition to housing design and homeownership models.”
–Mathew Sanders, OCD resilience policy and program administrator
The State of Louisiana has executed an option agreement for a site near Schriever, Louisiana to relocate and resettle the residents. The 515-acre site is located about 40 miles northwest of the Island. The new location is far less susceptible to flooding and has many advantages, including proximity to stores, schools, and healthcare. CSRS is developing a master plan that will be economically, environmentally and socially sustainable and includes community spaces, safe and attractive homes, and site amenities.
The new site is large enough for all permanent residents from Isle de Jean Charles to relocate. It will also provide an opportunity for residents who have already been displaced to rejoin the community.
Mark Goodson’s career spans over 12 years, and has been focused on resilience, urban planning and redevelopment, public finance and budgeting, and local government operations. He serves as CSRS’ Resilience Practice Lead, helping commercial and governmental clients adapt to thrive, no matter the changing conditions confronting them. In order to achieve resilience, Mr. Goodson and his team members provide technical assistance to identify risks and vulnerabilities, develop strategic interventions, and design and implement resilience programs, as well as integrate resilience and sustainability into existing capital programs.
Mr. Goodson is particularly skilled at helping clients plan for turning liabilities into assets, and maximizing the community benefits produced by capital expenditures and investments.Contact