Semester of Graduation

Spring 2018


Master of Science (MS)


Geography and Anthropology

Document Type



The greater Baton Rouge area in Louisiana has been impacted by repeated floods throughout its history. The most recent flood in August 2016 resulted in damages to over 80,000 homes and businesses and upwards of $430 million in public assistance granted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. East Baton Rouge Parish and neighboring Livingston and Ascension parishes are expected to face compounded pressures and risks with the threat of increasing frequency of flood events coupled with expanding populations due to continuing suburbanization and inland migration from those living on Louisiana's coast. The purpose of this research is to create and validate an index to measure community resilience to flooding across Ascension, East Baton Rouge, and Livingston parishes from 1983- 2016. Using a combination of environmental and socioeconomic variables, the index is applied to three different years where historic and devastating flooding has occurred in the region: 1983, 1993, and 2016. A brief history of suburban sprawl, flood mitigation strategies, and land use changes provides a framework to measure the efficacy of the index. This historic perspective allows for a better understanding of how capacity for building resilience has evolved, and how we might expect it to progress in the future. This research helps understand how community resilience has changed over time after repeated flood events. Furthermore, this will help quantify the components that lend themselves to community resilience, so that future natural hazards may be recognized and their harmful effects may be mitigated.



Committee Chair

Colten, Craig