2017 Hurricane Season: LSU Hurricane Experts Available

Updated 05/29/2017
HurricaneBATON ROUGE – Members of the media may be interested in contacting LSU experts for comment or analysis throughout the 2017 hurricane season.

LSU’s faculty study all aspects of risks associated with living in the coastal zone, and their areas of expertise include evacuation and emergency preparation; waves, wind and storm surge; water and environmental issues; and coastal land loss.

*This list is not meant to be comprehensive and will be updated throughout hurricane season. For more information on LSU researchers, please visit www.lsu.edu  or contact Ernie Ballard at eballa1@lsu.edu or 225-578-5685 or Alison Satake at asatake@lsu.edu or 225-578-3870.


Storms/Climatology/Coastal Modeling

Q. Jim Chen, CSRS Distinguished Professor, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering
225-578-4911, qchen@lsu.edu   
Areas of Expertise: coastal engineering, prediction of storm surge and ocean waves, numerical modeling of coastal processes, design of coastal structures.

Scott C. Hagen, director, LSU Center for Coastal Resiliency, Louisiana Sea Grant Laborde Chair, Professor, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering, Center for Computation & Technology, Fellow, Coastal Studies Institute
225-578-4303, shagen@lsu.edu   
Areas of Expertise: Tide, wind-wave and hurricane storm surge modeling; digital elevation model development; flood-plain analysis; coastal dynamics of sea level rise; biogeophysical modeling.

Nan Walker, professor, Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences, Director of the Earth Scan Laboratory
225-578-2395, nwalker@lsu.edu  
Areas of Expertise: Walker studies how ocean temperatures and heat content related to ocean eddies and the Loop Current impact hurricane intensity in the Gulf of Mexico. She also studies the impacts of storms on coastal circulation and coastal land changes. She is a physical oceanographer and a satellite remote sensing specialist. She directs the Earth Scan Laboratory, or ESL, which is a real-time satellite data receiving station with capabilities for the reception, processing and visualization of imagery from geostationary and polar-orbiting satellites. The ESL’s satellite measurements are valuable in supporting emergency-response activities such as tracking hurricanes and tropical storms, oil spills and the Loop Current. ESL also provides unique training of students.

Barry Keim, state climatologist, Department of Geography & Anthropology
225-578-6170, keim@lsu.edu   
Areas of Expertise: Keim serves as the state climatologist and directs the Louisiana Office of State Climatology, housed in LSU’s Department of Geography & Anthropology. The Louisiana Office of State Climatology serves as the state's archive for weather and climate information. Keim is charged with fostering climatic research on Louisiana and the Southeast, educating the public on climate issues, providing data to the public and monitoring the climate of the state. He has extensive experience in researching severe weather, including hurricanes and heavy rainfall events.

Chunyan Li, director of WAVCIS, the Wave-Current-Surge Information System for Coastal Louisiana, Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences, College of the Coast & Environment
225-578-3619, cli@lsu.edu   
Areas of Expertise: Li can comment on physical oceanography, transport, coastal and estuarine circulations, ocean observing stations, modeling, extreme weather, such as hurricane-induced, water level change including storm surge.

Kam-Bui Liu, George W. Barineau III Professor, Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences, College of the Coast & Environment
225-578-8203, kliu1@lsu.edu   
Areas of Expertise: Liu is widely recognized as a pioneer and leader in paleotempestology, a field that studies past hurricane activity by means of geological proxy techniques and historical documentary evidence. Liu takes sediment cores from coastal lakes and marshes and uses the overwash sand layers contained in these cores to reconstruct the chronological and spatial patterns of catastrophic hurricane strikes along the U.S. Gulf Coast and Atlantic Coast during the past 5,000 years. He has extended his paleotempestology work to the Caribbean region, Central America and the Pacific coast of Mexico, and has studied the connection between hurricane strikes and coastal wildfires. He is also a leader in the use of documentary evidence to reconstruct the history of typhoon landfalls in China during the past 1,000 years. He teaches a course called “Hurricanes and Typhoons” (OCS3200) covering all topics relating to tropical cyclones from their global distribution, climatology and ecology to their geological and societal impacts.

Lawrence Rouse, associate professor, Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences, College of the Coast & Environment
225-578-0734, lrouse@lsu.edu   
Areas of Expertise: Rouse can speak to circulation processes/currents in the Gulf of Mexico and along the Louisiana coast; wind-driven coastal currents; the deep Gulf Loop Current and eddies, including effects on tropical storms and hurricanes; and storm surges.

John White, associate director, Coastal Studies Institute, Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences, College of the Coast & Environment
225-578-8792, jrwhite@lsu.edu    
Areas of Expertise: White's research program is focused on coastal wetlands including short-term salinity changes in coastal environments due to storm surge and impacts of rising sea level on coastal wetland functions.


Environmental impact of disasters, flooding

Samuel Bentley, director of the LSU Coastal Studies Institute, associate dean of the LSU College of Science
225-578-5735, 225-773-5217 (cell), sjb@lsu.edu
Areas of Expertise: geological impacts of hurricanes

John Pardue, Elizabeth Howell Stewart Professor in Civil & Environmental Engineering, director of the Hazardous Substance Research Center
225-578-8661, jpardue@lsu.edu   
Areas of Expertise: Pardue’s research interests include the fate and transport of chemical contaminants during hurricanes; debris handling after disasters and impacts of storm surge on industrial facilities.

Clint Willson, Mike N. Dooley P.E. Professor and Director of the Center for River Studies, LSU Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering 
225-578-8672, cwillson@lsu.edu  
Areas of Expertise: watershed hydrology; physical and numerical modeling of rivers


Economics of environmental change and disruptive events

Stephen Barnes, director, LSU Economics & Policy Research Group, E. J. Ourso College of Business
225-578-3783, barnes@lsu.edu  
Area of Expertise: economic impact following a hurricane or other disruptive event


Structural Engineering

Michele Barbato, associate professor, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering
225-578-8719, mbarbato@lsu.edu    
Areas of Expertise: structural engineering and dynamics, structural reliability, performance-based hurricane engineering

Steve Cai, Edwin B. and Norma S. McNeil Distinguished Professor, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering
225-578-8898, cscai@lsu.edu   
Areas of Expertise: bridge engineering, wind engineering, structural dynamics, structural performance evaluation and rehabilitation.

Carol Friedland, associate professor, Department of Construction Management & Industrial Engineering, College of Engineering
225-578-1155, friedland@lsu.edu   
Areas of Expertise: combined wind and flood interactions on structures; post-event data acquisition; remote sensing of building damage; hazard-resistant and sustainable construction; integration of Geographic Information Systems, or GIS, in hazards research, hazard mitigation planning, mitigation decision making.

Aly-Mousaad Aly, assistant professor, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering
225-578-6654, aly@lsu.edu  
Area of Expertise: The Windstorm Impact, Science & Engineering (WISE) research at LSU aims at exploring knowledge in the science of wind engineering and structural control to build the more resilient and sustainable coastal infrastructure, to reduce the loss of life and the huge cost of rebuilding after storms. Aly’s research focuses on the reliable characterization of wind impact on the built environment, in addition to innovative mitigation strategies, to build the more resilient community under the sustainability constraints. Potential applications include the design aspects of the infrastructure for windstorm: residential homes, offshore structures, bridges, transportation infrastructure, energy infrastructure (wind turbines, solar panels, and petrochemical structures), etc. The research activities are beneficial to students, as they provide potential opportunities to learn with direct involvement in real-world projects. Researchers with interests in structural, coastal, mechanical, and wind engineering will find a fertile environment for innovations that bring science into practice. Furthermore, the research findings are directly applicable to solving challenging real-world industry issues, fine tune design codes, give coastal residents options for making their dwellings more storm resistant, and helping the government and the insurance companies to improve their hurricane protection policies.

Ayman Okeil, professor, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering
225-578-7048, aokeil@lsu.edu   
Areas of Expertise: bridge engineering, structural reliability, nondestructive testing and evaluation of structures, structural rehabilitation and strengthening, nonlinear behavior of concrete structures.


Resilient Building/Landscape Architecture/Hazards Mitigation

Jeff Carney, AIA, AICP, director, Coastal Sustainability Studio; associate professor, School of Architecture, College of Art & Design
225-578-4990, jcarney@lsu.edu   
Areas of Expertise: resiliency in community design and planning.

Melissa Daigle, research associate and resiliency specialist, Louisiana Sea Grant Law & Policy Program
225-578-9968, mtrosc2@lsu.edu   
Areas of Expertise: coastal hazard mitigation, flood insurance, community rating system, coastal and environmental law and policy research and outreach.


Hazard mitigation/community planning/environmental planning

Traci Birch, AICP, assistant professor research, Coastal Sustainability Studio
225-578-4990, tbirch@lsu.edu  
Areas of Expertise: resiliency in community design and planning, coastal community development.


Disaster Recovery

Shandy Heil, LSU AgCenter - extension associate for the Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department and LaHouse Resource Center staff
202-597-1311, SHeil@agcenter.lsu.edu  
Areas of Expertise: disaster recovery and mitigation, flood zone designations and requirements, hazard-resistant construction methods and techniques; building science and mitigation construction research; hazard resistant building codes.

Claudette Hanks Reichel, director of LaHouse Resource Center, an educational attraction and demonstration of high performance housing solutions.
Ofc: 225-578-2378, Cell: 225-202-6593
Areas of Expertise: residential flood recovery, disaster restoration and resiliency, building science, energy efficiency, indoor air quality (including mold control) and high-performance home construction and improvement for southern region climate and natural hazards. 

Edward Richards, LSU Law Center – Director of the Law, Science and Public Health program and professor of law
225-578-7595, richards@law.lsu.edu  
Areas of Expertise: flood insurance plan, flood maps, land use issues, storms and climate change. He produced the Law Review articles: "The Hurricane Katrina Levee Breach Litigation: Getting the First Geoengineering Liability Case Right" and "Applying Life Insurance Principles to Coastal Property Insurance to Incentivize Adaptation to Climate Change."


Brian Wolshon, director, Gulf Coast Research Center for Evacuation and Transportation Resiliency
225-578-5247, brian@rsip.lsu.edu   
Areas of Expertise: Wolshon studies issues relating to hurricane evacuations and major-event traffic scenarios. His recent projects have included the testing and evaluation of intelligent transportation systems and traffic-flow analysis, with particular emphasis in application for hurricane evacuation.

Human Impact

James V. Catano, professor, Department of English; director, Film & Media Arts, College of Humanities & Social Sciences

225-578-3140/5876, catano@lsu.edu   
Areas of Expertise: Catano has worked closely with Croatian oystermen, fishermen and their families since Hurricane Katrina, both on their boats and in their homes. A portion of that work is visible online in “An Enduring Legacy: Louisiana’s Croatian Americans,” which is also available on DVD. He is available to discuss the impact hurricanes and coastal erosion have had on the fishermen of southeastern Louisiana, their industry and their traditional ways of life.

Craig E. Colten, Carl O. Sauer Distinguished Professor of Geography, Department of Geography & Anthropology, College of Humanities & Social Sciences
225-578-5942, ccolten@lsu.edu   
Areas of Expertise: Colten studies the historical aspects of hazards, including hurricanes, community resilience and adaption, the hurricane protection system and the human dimension of hurricanes. He is an expert on levee and flood history, the environmental history of New Orleans and environmental justice. He has investigated the threat of hurricanes to historic districts and environmental justice issues related to coastal hazards. He has an interest in the long-term human dimension of preparation for and response to hurricanes.

Michael Pasquier, associate professor, Department of Religious Studies, College of Humanities & Social Sciences
225-578-2271, mpasquier@lsu.edu  
Areas of Expertise: Michael Pasquier is the producer of the documentary film "Water like Stone," which explores the history and culture of a fishing community outside the levee-protection system of coastal Louisiana. He is the curator of the traveling exhibit On Land / With Water: Tracking Change in a Coastal Community, which charts the relationship between people, land and water in South Louisiana. And he is the editor of the book "Gods of the Mississippi," which considers the history of religion in the Mississippi River Valley from the colonial period to the present. His work in coastal Louisiana has been supported by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Tim Slack, associate professor, Department of Sociology, College of Humanities & Social Sciences
225-578-1116, slack@lsu.edu   
Areas of Expertise: Community vulnerability and resiliency; disparities in impacts across social groups; social stratification and social demography. Slack can speak to the role that social context plays in shaping differentials in susceptibility to disaster impacts, how people come to conceptualize losses and other impacts incurred from catastrophic events, differential social responses depending on whether a disaster process is viewed as “natural” or “manmade” (e.g., technological).

Carolyn E. Ware, associate professor, Department of English, College of Humanities & Social Sciences
225-578-3022, cware1@lsu.edu
Areas of expertise: traditional culture and resiliency in Louisiana's ethnic coastal communities affected by hurricanes and coastal erosion. Over the past two decades, Ware has documented and written about cultural traditions among Croatian Americans, African Americans, Vietnamese, and Creoles in Plaquemines Parish, funded in part by the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. Her publications include a book manuscript Coastal Crossroads: Folklife in Louisiana's Deep Delta, and journal articles and book chapters about coastal resilience. In addition, she has organized many public narrative stage interviews on coastal folklife at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.  


Journalism & Public Relations Response

Andrea Miller, associate dean, Manship School of Mass Communication
225-578-3146, almiller@lsu.edu   
Areas of Expertise: National and local media coverage of crisis and tragedy; media coverage of man-made and natural disasters.

Judith Sylvester, associate professor, Manship School of Mass Communication
225-578-2067, jsylves@lsu.edu (available at 225-938-7512 or 225-767-5845 during summer months)
Area of Expertise: journalists’ role in coverage of disasters.

Impact on Animals/Seafood/Food Safety

Prosanta Chakrabarty, curator of fishes, LSU Museum of Natural Science
225-578-3079, prosanta@lsu.edu   
Areas of Expertise: deep sea fish in Gulf; systematics of marine and freshwater fishes.

John Hawke, professor of microbiology & parasitology, Department of Pathobiological Sciences, Louisiana Aquatic Diagnostic Laboratory, LSU School of Veterinary Medicine
225-578-9705, jhawke1@lsu.edu   
Areas of Expertise: crawfish, emerging infectious diseases of cultured marine and freshwater fish and crustaceans.

Rebecca McConnico, professor of veterinary medicine, School of Veterinary Medicine
225-578-9922, ginger@lsu.edu  
Areas of Expertise: evacuation of animals before a hurricane, and help with rescue and sheltering of animals following disasters.
Here’s a link to the School of Veterinary Medicine’s disaster preparedness website: http://www.lsu.edu/vetmed/disaster_preparedness/index.php  

John Supan, professor, School of Renewable Natural Resources, Director of the Sea Grant Oyster Research Laboratory
225-578-6527, jsupan@lsu.edu   
Areas of Expertise: oyster culture and economics, polyploidy and selective breeding, clam culture, hydroacoustic evaluation of oyster grounds & management of Grand Isle Bivalve Hatchery.

Wenqing "Wennie" Xu, LSU AgCenter - assistant professor
302-229-8499 (cell), 225-578-3997, wenqing.xu@agcenter.lsu.edu  
Area of expertise: natural disaster food safety 


Media Note:
Please check back as experts will continue to be added to the list throughout hurricane  season.

Contact Ernie Ballard
LSU Media Relations