Louisiana’s Isle de Jean Charles in peril from climate change

Digital Originals

Featured Video Play Icon
Aerial view of Isle de Jean Charles in Louisiana.

South Louisiana is watching anxiously as Tropical Storm Nate continues to churn away in the region. New Orleans is always a concern –but there is a small barrier island in south Louisiana that could be totally wiped off the map by a strong storm. Isle de Jean Charles, a small spit of land is home to people arguably becoming the first climate refugees in the United States. CGTN’s Sean Callebs, Andrew Smith, and Drone Operator Tim Handley give us an up close look at the ravages of erosion. Many residents are leaving, but some people are refusing – saying it is the only home they have ever known.

Over the last few decades, Isle de Jean Charles has been shrinking due to continued coastal erosion. In 1955, the island consisted of over 22,000 acres. It has since lost about 98 percent of that land. With hurricanes severity increasing and rising sea levels, many worry the Native American Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw tribe, who fled to the Island in the 19th century, may become refugees once again – this time to climate change.

MAP: Isle de Jean Charles