THIBODAUX, La. – Nicholls is set to release a Hurricane Ida documentary covering the storm, its damage and Nicholls’ response, and in commemoration of Ida’s one-year anniversary, the trailer for the documentary is now available for viewing.
As the fifth-largest storm ever to hit the United States with max wind speeds of 150 mph, the Category 4 hurricane made landfall on the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, bringing devastating winds and storm surge to the Bayou Region. Ida is the second most-damaging hurricane to hit Louisiana since Katrina in 2005.
The storm made landfall twice on Aug 29 with the first touchdown about 70 miles from campus in Port Fourchon and the second about 35 miles away in south Lafourche Parish. Port Fourchon recorded winds of 228 mph and a storm surge of more than 12 feet on one of their docked ships.
Although campus received moderate damage, about two-thirds of the Nicholls community reported their homes damaged, while one in five said their homes were destroyed or uninhabitable. In the wake of the storm, more than half of our students reported their families lost access to reliable income.
With about 90 percent of the university’s students being from Louisiana and more than half of the student body living in Terrebonne and Lafourche Parishes, most of their family homes were affected.
Through multiple university surveys, it was recorded that over 1,400 students’ major struggles were food insecurity, shelter, gasoline and money. Some students had to drop out of school to rebuild their homes and care for their families.
The Nicholls Campus Emergency and Hurricane Relief Fund was available to assist students, faculty and staff in need. Nicholls was able to invite students who lost their homes to the storm to move into campus residence halls and access meal plans at no cost. About 180 moved on campus.
In an effort to preserve and protect the coast from future storms, Nicholls is set to open its Coastal Center, with groundbreaking slated for early 2023. The $21 million project will be located on the Nicholls campus at the corner of Colonel Drive and Ardoyne Drive, across from Calecas Hall.
The collaborative space will allow for scientists from all over the state and beyond, including those from CPRA, the Water Institute of the Gulf and Nicholls biological sciences and geomatics departments, to collaborate and advance research to repair and rebuild the state’s receding coastline.
The Coastal Center will work directly with the Bayou Region Incubator to help create jobs and small businesses specific to the Bayou community and the Nicholls Farm as a way to test the real-world application of the center’s coastal research.
The Terrebonne Basin has the highest rate of coastal land loss in the state with more than 30,000 acres of wetlands lost since 1932. Louisiana loses a football field of coastal islands and wetlands every 100 minutes and has experienced more coastal land loss than any other state in the nation since 1930 with more than 1,800 square miles turned to open water.