Isle De Jean Charles Resettlement Project

In the face of rising sea levels, subsiding land and frequent flood events, the south Louisiana residents of Isle de Jean Charles need to move to higher, safer ground. With the loss of more than 98 percent of the community’s land during the past 60 years, only 320 of the island’s original 22,400 acres remain. Although the island has been both a home and a historically significant landmark for nearly 200 years, community resettlement is inevitable. The only question is how.

To initiate this process, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has awarded $48.3 million to the state of Louisiana’s Office of Community Development-Disaster Recovery Unit (OCD-DRU) to resettle the residents as an entire community. Since the challenges of this project do not end with a physical move to a new location, the resettlement of Isle de Jean Charles must protect the island’s American Indian culture and support future generations.

To achieve these goals, OCD-DRU will develop and implement a geographically achievable, economically feasible and culturally respectful resettlement strategy. This strategy will include close collaboration with residents, as well as local, state and federal stakeholders. As the state’s lead agency for disaster recovery since 2005, OCD-DRU is well-positioned to negotiate these challenges and achieve an outcome that serves the island’s residents and provides a resettlement model for the entire nation.

Timeline of Events