Developing a State-Wide Network


The kick-off workshop for the Resiliency Assistance Program was designed to continue the development of a state-wide capacity to plan our communities for resiliency. By building partnerships and networks, developing best management practices, and providing resources for plan implementation the program aims to prepare Louisiana communities for future risk. We ask that you make every effort to attend. The experiences of each pilot project are a key component to developing a valuable program.  Below is a list with descriptions of the primary resiliency themes discussed within the workshop activities.


How Do We Live With Risk?

In Louisiana, we have settled in places that require the balancing of risk and security. In an effort to control risk, we have built infrastructure to protect ourselves from the inherent vulnerability of our landscape, and evolved social systems to cope with the fluctuations in risk over time. With climate change, subsidence, land loss and various other realities, the need for a return to resilient development practices has become clear. This scale is meant to establish a shared vision of risk by determining what we view as vulnerable and what we view as safe in Louisiana.


Human Settlement is the built environment, which we have constructed over time. Early settlers tended to establish land use patterns based on existing landscape features and proximity to natural resources. As we have innovated our construction, resource extraction, and transportation technologies, we have adjusted our footprint on the land, and in many cases increased our vulnerability to natural and man-made forces. Our ability to mitigate risk and recognize appropriate land to develop will allow us to build stronger communities.

Economics and Infrastructure

Infrastructure is the systems we have imposed in and on the land that facilitates the expansion of human, resource, water and waste movement for economic development. As our climate changes and natural systems degrade, our built infrastructure is increasingly vulnerable. Our ability to acknowledge appropriate and strategic locations for new infrastructure will allow us to protect citizens and economic interstates of our State.


Louisiana’s economy and culture are largely dependent on its natural resources and environmental systems. Our wetlands, fisheries, agricultural land, as well as natural gas, oil, and petrochemical resources are all aspects of Louisiana’s environment. Louisiana’s ecological systems directly affect the long term economic viability of many parts of our State. The increasing acknowledgement that we must balance our environmental and economic vitality is an important step in building resilient communities.



1. The perception of risk varies on an individual’s perspective.

Through a group activity, workshop participants explored the concepts of risk and resiliency.  The activity involved participants placing a photograph on a line scale between “risk” and “resiliency,” where a value was placed on the image through its location as being more resilient, or portraying risk.

2. Many issues are shared across geographic boundaries.

In session 1 the groups discussed specific vulnerabilities within their communities.  The issues were written on a map to spatialize the information.  Many communities share similar concerns, regardless of geographic location across the state.  This provided an opportunity for network building around common community risks.

3. Workshop participants had clear ideas of how the Louisiana Resiliency Assistance Program can assist in education and capacity building.

Through answers to a questionnaire provided to workshop attendees, several themes emerged as wants and needs for future outreach and education efforts of the Louisiana Resiliency Assistance Program.  These themes included:

  • Issues related to water management and infrastructure
  • Coordination across political boundaries
  • Connecting with colleagues working on resiliency issues
  • Community education on resiliency issues
  • Community based response to disaster relief and evacuation planning
  • Improved and accessible mapping including infrastructure mapping
  • Populations and industry moving northward
  • Older parts of cities might be in the least vulnerable areas, but because of disinvestment they are now in bad parts of town
  • Sprawl -cities growing their footprint and maintenance of expanded infrastructure


Agenda – Kick-off Workshop:  Building State-wide Networks

9:00-9:15 Sign in and Coffee 9:15 – 9:45 Welcome to the Resiliency Assistance Program Workshop

  • OCD-DRU Introduction
  • LSU Team Introduction
  • Program Introduction, Principles, and Goals

9:45 – 11:45 Breakout Session One – Knowing the Risks: Planning for Resiliency

  • How are communities better able to respond to risk through resiliency planning?
  • What is your vision of resiliency?
  • How do your risks and visions come together in the planning process?
  • Looking forward, what are your assistance needs for implementation and future plans?

11:45 – 12:45 Lunch Break 12:45 – 2:15 Breakout Session Two – Building Partnerships and Networks

  • What kind of partnerships, regional alliances, and assistance networks increase local, regional, and statewide resilience?
  • Have new networks and partnerships emerged from the resiliency planning process?
  • Looking towards implementation and future needs, do you see a greater reliance on certain types of partnerships and networks?

2:15 – 2:30 Coffee Break 2:30 – 3:00 Session Wrap Up

Given all that we discussed today in our breakout sessions and our role as the LRAP, what can we do to help you build this program?