LSU to host media fellowship program on coastal and hurricane research

November 19, 2001

BATON ROUGE - Louisiana State University will host a media fellowship program, coordinated by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, on coastal and hurricane research April 23-25, 2002, in Baton Rouge, La.

LSU's fellowship, "The Coastal Environment: Hurricanes, Erosion and the Vanishing Wetlands," will address coastal erosion, the disappearing wetlands and devastating hurricanes. These problems affect coastal areas across the globe, but are a particular threat to Louisiana, threatening a way of life for people who live in harmony with the sea.

The agenda for the program will include either a helicopter or boat ride along Louisiana's coastline, tours of the laboratories where LSU researchers work and a visit to the state's Office of Emergency Preparedness.

Other topics to be addressed during the program include disaster management and mitigation, the new field of hurricane engineering, the biotechnology possibilities of the sea and the ever-expanding "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico.

Application deadline for the program is Dec. 1, 2001. LSU will select up to 12 media representatives to attend. In accordance with rules set by CASE, LSU provides room and board for the journalists during the program. The journalists' employers must cover transportation costs to and from Baton Rouge.

LSU's expertise in the areas of coastal and hurricane studies stems from the vulnerability of Louisiana. Catastrophic hurricanes, massive erosion and an overall sinking of the coastline have put the state at great risk. Every 15 minutes, the Louisiana coastline sustains a land loss the size of a football field, causing the area to suffer the highest rate of coastal erosion and wetland loss in the nation. In addition, during the past 100 years, the Louisiana coastline has had among the highest incidence of major hurricane hits of any part of the Gulf Coast. To make matters worse, 70 percent of the state's population lives in the coastal zone, 90 percent of which is near or below sea-level.

As marshes and barrier islands disappear, Louisiana's multi-million-dollar commercial seafood industry is jeopardized and the state's coastal cities are left more vulnerable to hurricane-force winds and storm surge. A direct hurricane strike on New Orleans, for example, could flood the below-sea-level city, filling it with water that could not be pumped out for weeks.

Participants in LSU's fellowship program will spend three days at LSU in the spring - the most beautiful season in which to visit the campus, which is nationally recognized for its beauty. In addition, participants may want to attend opening weekend of the famed New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, which begins the day after the fellowship program ends.

During the program, participants will talk with faculty members from LSU's Department of Oceanography and Coastal Studies, LSU's School of the Coast and Environment, the LSU Coastal Studies Institute and the LSU Hurricane Center, which is home to the largest collection of hurricane researchers in the nation. Attendees will also visit several LSU labs, including the wave tank, wind tunnel and Earth Scan Laboratory.

During the fellowship program, participants will stay in first-class lodgings at LSU's on-campus hotel and conference center. Meals from some of Baton Rouge's top Cajun and seafood restaurants will be provided.

For more information on LSU, visit Also check the LSU Hurricane Center's Web site at For information on the 2002 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, visit For more information on LSU's CASE Fellowship Program, contact Kristine Calongne, LSU Office of University Relations, Assistant Director of Media Relations, (225) 578-5985,

Contact Kristine Calongne
LSU News Service

More news and information available on LSU's homepage at

Louisiana State University

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