Master of Science (MS)


Environmental Sciences

Document Type



When hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit in 2005, widespread devastation was felt in over half of the parishes in the state. More than 200,000 homes were damaged and more than 1500 people lost their lives. During this transitionary period, communities were vulnerable and looked for rebuilding leadership. As part of a post-catastrophe resilience movement, the Louisiana Recovery Authority formulated a 50-year regional plan for recovering south Louisiana called Louisiana Speaks. This planning process opened up an opportunity to reach those communities that otherwise may not have considered planning or how it could help them prepare for future events. This places Louisiana in a unique position to study how these events may have affected planning and resilience objectives in parishes throughout the state. In this thesis the following questions are examined: 1.Has there been any change in the number of plans adopted following the active hurricane seasons of 2005 and 2008? 2.What factors are associated with levels of planning in Louisiana at the parish scale since 2005? 3.Has there been more attention to resilience in planning since 2005? These questions were examined by sending out a survey to all parish planning departments or parish administration. The responses, combined with demographic data such as parish density, population change, education level, and median income, showed that there are more comprehensive plans adopted per year now than there were prior to 2005. The research also showed that more rural parishes are adopting comprehensive planning as a way to preserve their rural character against future growth. Parishes are also moving towards resilience planning, as a way to combine land use planning with tools to protect their parish from future natural disasters. This research shows that framing comprehensive planning as resilience planning may have more impact in Louisiana than it would have prior to 2005.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Reams, Margaret Anne