Louisiana holds a unique historical, economic, and cultural position in the national consciousness. Its off-shore oil operations help fuel the U.S. economy. The Port of South Louisiana is the busiest in the United States by cargo volume; the nearby Port of New Orleans is the sixth busiest. The former French and Spanish colony served as a key connection to the Caribbean long before U.S. independence, and Louisiana’s multinational effects soon melded into a Creole culture that had an outsized effect on America.
That heritage remains a powerful draw for the tourism industry in Louisiana. Gulf Coast breezes carry the aromas of tropical flowers, sweet beignets, and savory crawfish through the 13 colorful blocks of New Orleans’ French Quarter. Interwoven with the sounds of jazz, rock, country music, and zydeco, the city’s charms delight more than 18 million visitors each year.
The proximity of the Gulf Coast and the city’s elevation, however—just 6.5 feet above sea level—also offer an ominous warning of the ever-present threat of climate change and natural disaster. Hurricane Katrina battered New Orleans in 2005, an incident tied to more than 1,800 deaths that marks one of the most notorious U.S. weather-related tragedies in the 21st century. Climate change has amplified threats from tropical storms. Through more frequent and powerful storms, sea level rise threatens low-lying areas such as Lake Charles and creates unpredictable weather patterns that threaten the cities and agricultural operations to the north.
Landsat data offer rich information that can aid in early warning, disaster response, and the monitoring of recovery from natural disasters. Its historic, unparalleled 50-year archive of repeat Earth observations also serves to guide resiliency plans and feeds modeling that can help States like Louisiana prepare for coming coastal and inland change. Here are just a few examples of how Landsat has been used to study and understand Louisiana.
|Title||Louisiana and Landsat|
|Publication Subtype||USGS Numbered Series|
|Series Title||Fact Sheet|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center|