Abby Sallenger: Island in a Storm
Friday - September 04, 2009
About This Show
In the summer of 1853 explosions rocked New Orleans. The mayor ordered cannons fired and barrels of tar set aflame in a desperate attempt to rid the city of yellow fever. Those with the means fled. Many of them traveled to Isle Derniere, an emerging island retreat on the Gulf of Mexico, presuming it a safe haven.
Then, without warning, on August 10, 1856, a hurricane swept across the island, killing most of its 400 inhabitants. The Isle Derniere, already a narrow ribbon of sand, was devastated. What remained was a forest stranded in the sea, a sign of a land that would eventually vanish.
Island in a Storm is the riveting true story of the people who faced this fierce hurricane, their bravery and cowardice, luck and misfortune, life and death. It chronicles a coast in perpetual motion and a rising sea that made the Isle Derniere particularly vulnerable to a great hurricane.
Author Abby Sallenger received his Ph.D. in Marine Science from the University of Virginia and is the former Chief Scientist of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Center for Coastal Geology. He presently leads the USGS Extreme Storms research group. He joins Dr. Edgar to talk about his book Island in a Storm: A Rising Sea, a Vanishing Coast, and a Nineteenth-Century Disaster that Warns of a Warmer World and about the need to re-examine our ideas about living on the coast.