ABSTRACT

Simms, J.R.Z., 2017. “Why would I live anyplace else?”: Resilience, sense of place and possibilities of migration in coastal Louisiana.

Despite living in what was described as a “layer cake made of Jell-O, floating in a swirling Jacuzzi of steadily warming, rising water,” many Louisiana residents of Terrebonne Parish, which is contained entirely within the coastal zone, repeatedly express a strong commitment to remain in place. Combining analyses of primary and secondary materials with crucial informant interviews, conducted in 2012–15, the empirical focus of this research documents how the intersections of resilient practices, sense of place, and social relations play out for those who continue to return, (re)adapt, and rebuild after a hurricane, tropical storm, sharp decline in seafood prices, or other fast- or slow-moving disaster. This research seeks to answer the following two questions: (1) how can residents' sense of place, resilient practices, and social relations affect the processes surrounding possibilities of migration? and (2) what is the relationship between these three factors and the places in which interviewees reside? At present, little is known about how the identities of coastal Louisiana residents, interconnected and contingent on social relations, sense of, and attachment to, place affect the decisions surrounding migration possibilities.

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