NOLA.com recently tweeted this photo of a t-shirt being sold at some Sam's Clubs in Louisiana. The t-shirt says "LOUISIANA" and includes a drawing of mountains and pine trees. I'm from Louisiana, and we certainly have lots of pine trees—in fact, I'm from a town literally named after pine trees. We certainly don't have mountains, though. The highest point in Louisiana is Driskill Mountain in Bienville Parish, which is a whopping 535 feet high. Louisiana Travel explains:
Calling Driskill Mountain a "mountain" — while technically true — might need a little clarification. While considered a high point in Louisiana, elsewhere in the world, this little mountain would just be a hill. Consider its elevation: 535 feet above sea level. To put that in perspective, there are two buildings in downtown New Orleans that are taller than Driskill's summit. And compared to the largest mountains in the world, Mount Everest and Denali, you'd have to stack 55 and 38 Driskill mountains respectively to reach their summits.
I do find the shirt funny, because whoever printed it clearly had no clue about Louisiana, or didn't really care about finding out. What's not funny, though, is that not only does Louisiana lack mountains, in fact much of Louisiana is actually below sea level, and water levels continue to rise. And those rising water levels are a huge threat to Louisiana residents and wildlife, as PBS explains:
"For Louisiana, the stakes are immense," Daniel Gilford, a scientist at Climate Central, told the NewsHour. "Not including areas protected by levees, more than 46,000 people live on land within 2 feet of the high tide line. Those 2 feet of additional water threaten more than 23,000 Louisiana homes with an estimated value exceeding $2 billion. And under-resourced communities inevitably bear a disproportionate share of the risks."
PBS also explains that efforts are underway to try to better protect Louisiana's coastal communities, but honestly it seems like a mostly futile effort, sadly. To read more about the climate crisis in Louisiana and recent coastal protection efforts, read the rest of the PBS article here.