At a small church meeting house this month in a Louisiana farm town, a tiny community was making a very big decision. Residents were fed up with increasingly intense and frequent flooding, so they are moving to higher ground. Together.
The residents of Pecan Acres are some of America’s first climate refugees. The plan to move them could become a blueprint for other towns, as increasingly extreme weather and rising sea levels force more and more residents from the homes they’ve known for decades.
Pecan Acres, a subdivision of New Roads, Louisiana, was built in the 1970s along a canal. While it was always prone to flooding, in the last decade the floods have gotten much worse and much more destructive. The area levee is no longer adequate to hold the heavier rainfall. Back-to-back floods in 2016 and 2017 drew the governor’s attention, and a plan was hatched to buy out about 40 homeowners and move them to a new plot of land, barely 2 miles away, but 10 feet higher.
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