The residents of Isle de Jean Charles—a population of predominantly American Indian ancestry—live in this region, on an island that is rapidly disappearing into the Gulf of Mexico. Once encompassing more than 22,000 acres, only 320 acres of Isle de Jean Charles remain. The sole connecting road to the mainland—Island Road, built in 1953—is often impassable due to high winds, tides, sea level rise, or storm surge. This effectively blocks residents from school, work, and essential goods and services.
Even with this focused effort, the Resettlement emerges as a complex process involving a wide range of cultural, social, environmental, economic, institutional, and political factors. As with any inclusive effort, all stakeholders bring unique values and perspectives to the table, which often complicates consensus-based decision-making. Therefore, the Resettlement cannot be driven solely by economic and operational objectives but must incorporate a comprehensive, holistic and open-ended approach.
Led by the Louisiana Office of Community Development, the Isle de Jean Charles Resettlement team developed a design in concert with an extensive community engagement campaign to provide an integrated approach in the first federally funded community resettlement in the United States. CSRS serves as the prime consultant and lead engineer on this project.