Semester of Graduation

Spring 2020


Master of Science (MS)


Geography and Anthropology

Document Type



In 2016, the Baton Rouge region experienced what would come to be record-setting precipitation levels. The 1,000 year rainfall event dumped almost triple the amount of water on Louisiana than was seen during Hurricane Katrina (some areas received over 10 inches of rain in a matter of hours), with rain persisting from August 12th until the 17th. Previously a part of Baton Rouge, Central is a relatively new development that expanded into the 100 year floodplain in 2005. This thesis will present the changing geographies of flood mitigation policies since a major flood in 1983 to the present, with particular focus on the lead up and immediate aftermath of catastrophic flooding events that occurred in 2016. Drawing upon interviews and review of public policies the thesis will show the paradoxes in government planning when it comes to safe versus economic development, summarize expressions of community opinion and input in flood planning, and compare them with policy change in recent decades. The results of this comparative analysis indicate a lack in evolution of government policy to match the speed of development into flood-prone areas, the recent growth in public expressions about flood safety and the importance of reconciling safe and economic development interests when implementing policy, especially at the local level.

Committee Chair

Colten, Craig