Coastal Louisiana and New Orleans
Why: "Most of New Orleans would be flooded or become wetlands if not for the levees that were built," says Dr. Bruce Molnia, a research geologist at the United States Geological Survey. "But as we saw during Katrina, the embankments were breached, destroying neighborhoods that still haven't been rebuilt." While the Dixieland jazz, daiquiris, and Mardi Gras celebrations will outlast the next great hurricane, it just might not be possible to stay in the Big Easy. A White House official from the Office of Science and Technology Policy told Men's Journal that communities across the country are being impacted by coastal flooding due to sea level rise and storm surge, and that "climate change is happening now." A few hours beyond Bourbon Street, other parts of Coastal Louisiana are vanishing rapidly. Collin O'Mara, National Wildlife Federation's President and Chief Executive Officer, says, "climate change and the 2010 Gulf oil disaster have made the stakes even higher. NWF is working to restore our Mississippi River Delta, which was already losing critical wetlands at the rate of a football field an hour and has lost land mass the size of the state of Delaware off its coast since the 1930s."
What to do: Stay in the heart of New Orleans at Hotel Modern, offering free bikes, low rates, and a "green guest" policy that puts money in your pocket for accepting limited housekeeping services. After soaking in the sights, sounds, and suds of New Orleans — including a 10-mile bike ride along the scenic Mississippi River Trail — plan to get a different taste of Coastal Louisiana, what O'Mara calls the "sportsman's paradise and a must-visit for anglers and wildlife watchers." If you go, NWF recommends a fishing expedition with Venice Marina.
More info: neworleanscvb.com