Two thirds of the planet is covered in water. In south Louisiana, it may often seem like a lot more than that! We are surrounded by lakes and bayous. We’re bisected by one of the largest rivers in the world. And we’re sloughing off a football field of land every 30 minutes into the massive Gulf of Mexico that makes up our south coast.
We are so vulnerable to the power of all this water, and also so dependent on it. We love the water – we rely on it not just for sustenance but also for recreation. We even pay companies to dig pools of water in our back yards so we can swim, sunbathe and entertain. Unsurprisingly, Louisiana businesses and institutions have become experts in water – how to contain it, control it and have fun with it.
Alyssa Dausman is Senior Vice President and Chief Scientist at the Water Institute of the Gulf, an independent, non-profit, applied research institution that was created right here in Baton Rouge over a decade ago to advance science and develop integrated methods to solve complex environmental and societal challenges around coastal and climate-related issues.
Alyssa has more than 20 years experience working in hydrology and science to support decision-making. She is currently leading strategic planning efforts for Gov. John Bel Edwards’ Climate Task Force as well as for the Capital Area Groundwater Conservation Commission. In addition, she’s working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on developing and implementing Strategic Planning for Research and Development. She is an expert on issues related specifically to the Gulf of Mexico, and has been published and lectured all over the world.
Parker Ewing is owner of Ewing Aquatech Pools, a Baton Rouge-based swimming pool contractor that has been in business since 1966 and has designed and built more than 6-thousand pools and hot tubs for customers throughout Louisiana and Mississippi. Aquatech is a family business that Parker joined after graduating from the University of Alabama, where he majored in political science and Russian – an interesting combination that on the face of it might not sound like preparation for a life digging pools, but Parker the Pool Digger is a lesson in not judging a book by its cover!
Due to the state of the Covid 19 Omicron pandemic when this show was recorded, we were forced out of our usual launch spot onto Zoom. But normally Out to Lunch Baton Rouge is recorded live over lunch at Mansurs on the Boulevard.
Jill Lafleur took the photos of this conversation and you can hear more lunch-table conversation about Baton Rouge’s relationship to water here.