ROR Hosts Working for Our Coast


On Thursday, October 10, Restore or Retreat (ROR), with the support of Chevron, gave an increased focus to the upcoming generation that is tasked with saving our coast, community, and culture in the face of Louisiana’s exponential land loss rates through ROR’s coastal workforce event, Working for Our Coast. This event introduced nearly 200 Terrebonne Parish 9th graders to the current state of our coast and related career options surrounding coastal research, protection, restoration, functionality and resiliency.

Ninth grade students from Ellender Memorial High School, H. L. Bourgeois High School, South Terrebonne High School, and Terrebonne High School began the day at Fletcher Technical Community College with a welcome introduction to the event from Simone Maloz, ROR Executive Director, and to the coast by Charles Sutcliffe of the Governor’s Office of Coastal Activities. All students received a folder containing helpful tools and resources for a successful future, such as a resume template, soft skills guide, information on admissions to both Fletcher and Nicholls State University, and further details on Restore or Retreat and CPRA.

Following the introduction, students had the opportunity to explore coastal careers by listening to a mix of guest speakers in the areas of engineering from Stephen Smith of All South Consulting Engineers and Jennifer Shortress of Duplantis Design Group, design, construction, and protection from Dwayne Bourgeois of North Lafourche Levee District and Archie Chiasson of the City of Thibodaux Public Works; as well as biology and coastal science from Denise Reed of the University of New Orleans and Fred Roetker of Ducks Unlimited.

The message of coastal awareness and significance was evident throughout all speaker presentations, and continued into the outdoor exhibit area where local organizations and businesses provided more insight into coastal careers from perspectives of

Charles Sutcliffe, GOCA

distinguished professionals. Exhibits included informational booths from the State’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, T.Baker Smith, Morganza Action Coalition, Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program, Nicholls Geomatics Program, Fletcher Technical Community College and Terrebonne Parish Consolidated Government, Coastal Restoration & Preservation division. Large field equipment such as Sealevel’s excavator, airboats from North Lafourche Levee District and Fletcher/ConocoPhillips, North Lafourche Levee District’s ATV and T.Baker Smith’s massive field drone to top it all off!


Among the folder of resources was a stampcard for each student to complete by visiting exhibitor tables and providing feedback on the event; upon completion, the students’ cards were placed in a drawing for a prize. Before being bussed back to school, each student enjoyed a tasty lunch thanks to the help of the Bayou Community Foundation.

The future of our communities depend upon the next generation’s commitment to saving our coast, restoring what was lost, and protecting what still stands. Through our Working for Our Coast event, Restore or Retreat provided the first steps in connecting these students to coastal career opportunities, and sparked an interest in these students to become and remain involved in local efforts to better our coast!