Master of Science (MS)


Renewable Natural Resources

Document Type



Hurricanes Katrina and Rita made landfall in southern Louisiana during August and September 2005, respectively. Prior to these storms swamp tours were a popular nature-based tourism experience that entertained visitors while teaching them about local flora, fauna, and culture. The number of swamp tour businesses in the state was slowly increasing. The purpose of this study was to determine how many swamp tours were operating after the hurricanes, what type of damage they sustained, and how they repaired their businesses. Differences between those tours that remained open after the hurricanes and those that closed were also examined. A 3-phase mail survey was used to collect data throughout the winter and spring 2006 with a response rate of 74%. Respondents included 22 open businesses and nine closed businesses, seven of which planned to re-open eventually. The most common damages reported were loss of telephone service and damage to the swamp. Fewer tourists were also a problem for swamp tours, as 72% reported business was much lower than before the storms. Significantly more swamp tour businesses that had been operating for more than 15 years remained open after the storms than those businesses operating for less than 15 years. Swamp tour businesses in Louisiana were primarily family owned and employed fewer than five people. The majority of swamp tour owners believed their businesses were important to both the state tourism industry and the local economy of their area. This study also found that a new type of tour, the New Orleans disaster tour, was offered by four businesses that conduct swamp tours. A follow up survey after a period of one or more years is suggested to determine if the number of fully operational swamp tour businesses in the state has increased and detect any changes in the number of tourists in the area.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Craig Miller