November 11, 2021

Presenting: Life Raft - Could We Just Make Our Houses Float?

by How to Save a Planet

Background show artwork for How to Save a Planet

With flood risk increasing and flood insurance rates likely following suit, it seems like there’s got to be a better way to tackle the challenge. For example: could we make our homes float when the water comes? We’re sharing an episode of Life Raft from New Orleans Public Radio, who talked to an architect who has devoted her professional life to answering that question, and visited a Louisiana community where some people have decided that it makes more sense to temporarily float a house than to elevate it on stilts.

You can check out more episodes of Life Raft on Spotify, or wherever you listen.

Where to Listen


Alex Blumberg: Welcome to How to Save a Planet. I'm Alex Blumberg, and this is the show where we talk about what we need to do to address climate change, and how to make those things happen.

Alex: Hello, everyone. If you've been listening to our show for a while, you might remember an episode we did a while back called "Black Lives Matter and the Climate". In that episode, we spoke with Colette Pichon-Battle, a lawyer and activist who's been working to connect the dots between the climate movement and the movement for Black lives.

Alex: And in that episode, Colette talked about growing up in Louisiana in a house that her grandfather built with his own hands. And after Hurricane Katrina, Collette returned home to find her neighborhood destroyed—but the house was still standing. Her grandfather had constructed the house so that flood water would flow underneath it, something years of living on the bayou had taught him.

Colette Pichon-Battle: The house is still standing because my grandfather is a G.

Alex: Well, there are currently some people in Louisiana who've taken this concept even further, and instead of building their houses so the water runs beneath, they are building them to straight up float.

Alex: This week, we are sharing an episode from a Louisiana-based podcast called Life Raft from WWNO, WRKF and PRX. The show is hosted by comedian Lauren Malara and reporter Travis Lux, and each week they take on a different question about adapting to climate change. And the question on this episode is: in a world with more hurricanes and flooding, what if we just made our houses float? I know! Boom! The answer involves FEMA, Styrofoam, Louisiana porch culture, and many mentions of the word "Amphibious." You don't want to miss it, so stay tuned. It's coming up right after this break.


Travis Lux: Lauren.

Lauren Malara: Travis.

Travis: This is the last question we're gonna take on this season.

Lauren: It is. We've done it. We've made a season of podcasts, and we've covered so many topics, from oysters to climate change anxiety. But this is the last episode this season.

Travis: And to cap things off, to off the first season, this week's question comes from—me.

Lauren: Yeah! Go on, Travis! You work so hard! Come on, ask your question.

Travis: All right. My question has to do with flooding once again, so ...

Lauren: [laughs]

Travis: All right. So you know how in a lot of parts of Louisiana, flood-prone parts of Louisiana, coastal Louisiana, you see a lot of houses up on stilts.

Lauren: Yeah, of course. This is very common here in New Orleans.

Travis: I mean, sometimes they get super high. Like, 15 feet in the air, 20 feet sometimes. And so what I'm wondering is this: what if, instead of stilts, the houses just floated? They floated up with the floodwater when it came, and they floated back down to ground when the floodwaters went away.

Lauren: Yes. What you are describing currently is a boat. [laughs] From WWNO, WRKF and PRX, this is Life Raft, your survival guide for a changing planet. I'm Lauren Malara. I'm a comedian. I was born and raised in New Orleans.

Travis: And I'm Travis Lux. I'm an environment reporter for New Orleans Public Radio. And today on the show: the architecture of flooding. Why not just make our houses float?

Lauren: Okay, Travis. Floating houses. I'm intrigued. Tell me more.

Travis: Okay. We're gonna get there, but first I want to introduce you to Elizabeth English.

Elizabeth English: I'm a professor in the school of architecture at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada.

Travis: Elizabeth teaches in Canada but, you know, because of the pandemic and everything, she's decided to stay in Louisiana at her house in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana. She's teaching remotely from there. So I met up with her in Breaux Bridge, and we talked on her porch.

Lauren: On the porch of a floating house?

Travis: I wish. No, it's just a regular house, which will maybe make a little bit more sense later. But let's start with the 1970s, because that's when she was an undergrad student in architecture.

Elizabeth English: I was studying at a school where there was not a lot of emphasis on the practical aspects of architecture. And my male colleagues, classmates, were able to go get jobs on construction sites during the summer to learn how to put a building together. And I tried, but in the early '70s, they weren't hiring women on construction sites, at least not that I found. So I decided that if I were not going to be able to get more technical knowledge in the field, that I'd have to get it in the classroom.

Lauren: I love that this was secretly a story about women's empowerment. Go, Elizabeth!

Travis: So she went to grad school after that, this time for engineering, figuring that this is gonna give her more of the detailed knowledge that she's looking for. And it was while she was in grad school that she got super interested in wind, like how wind affects buildings.

Elizabeth English: You know, how much do they move? What's an acceptable amount of movement?

Lauren: None! An acceptable amount of movement is none. [laughs]

Travis: After that, she got a PhD in architecture and then moved to Louisiana to teach, first at Tulane University in New Orleans, then at LSU in Baton Rouge. And at this point, she's still doing wind stuff, working at the LSU Hurricane Centerand she's thinking a lot about how hurricane winds affect buildings.

Elizabeth English: What can you do to your building before the hurricane comes to make sure that it is more resilient? So that's what I was doing when Katrina and Rita happened.

Travis: So this is, of course, 2005. Hurricane Katrina rolled through New Orleans, the levees broke, the city was flooded and in shambles for a really long time. But because of her job at the LSU Hurricane Center, she found herself driving all across the city and the region assessing buildings for their wind damage.

Elizabeth English: But as I did this work, I realized that the major issue with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina was the flooding that was caused by the failure of the levee system.

Lauren: Yeah. Like me and my family, we got flooded, we got completely uprooted, scattered across the country. And we couldn't come back for many months, and what we did come back to was a house that was completely moldy on the inside.

Travis: Yeah. So for Elizabeth's purposes, the wind damage that she saw out there, it was bad, but it was not nearly as bad as the damage caused by the water.

Elizabeth English: It didn't cause the same extent of permanent damage in terms of people's way of life, because so many people were evacuated and distributed to places where they no longer had support systems and they weren't with family. And so what can we do to prepare the people so that they are not so dramatically and devastatingly affected by these bad choices that other people are making over which they have no control?

Lauren: When it comes to the trauma of Katrina, so much of it has to do with water. Because after the levees broke, the entire city was flooded. I mean, people were trapped in their homes. People died. People had to be rescued off of roofs. I mean, hundreds of thousands of people had to leave their houses because they were ruined and just moldy and rotten on the inside. There's a house across the street from my house now that is still there from Katrina. So to this day tens of thousands have not come back to their home, and this was 15 years ago.

Travis: Yeah. And so, yeah, Elizabeth is looking at all of this, I mean, even just in those early weeks after the storm, and her architecture brain and her engineering brain, they're starting to turn. She's just thinking, like, there's got to be a better design solution here—one that's better for people, one that's maybe a little bit more humane.

Elizabeth English: Making your house float temporarily seemed like a really good idea.

Lauren: All right, here we go. Floating houses. Let's get into it.

Travis: Okay, so from this point on we're gonna be calling them "amphibious houses," because I learned that this is actually what they're called.

Elizabeth English: They're not really floating houses because they only float part of the time. And hopefully not very much of the time. Most of the time they're sitting on the ground like an ordinary house. So I call them "amphibious" because they're both land creatures and sea creatures.

Lauren: This seems so logical. Houses that float hopefully will not flood. And I need one.

Elizabeth English: If your house has been amphibiated, after the flood goes away, when the house comes back down and is sitting on the ground again, and you go back to the house, there's essentially no damage.

Lauren: But how does one amphibiate their home?

Travis: Right.

Lauren: How do we get our house that we live in to float when a flood comes?

Travis: And I asked her that, and she walked me through the whole thing.

Elizabeth English: It's actually really easy to do a retrofit. So I work on retrofits. I work on existing houses that are already there, that people want to continue to live in, that they don't want to or cannot, for one reason or another, put it up on stilts.

Travis: So the first thing you need to do is to make your house float.

Lauren: How?

Travis: Okay, so imagine a dollhouse in a bathtub. If you turn on that water, fill the tub up, the dollhouse is obviously underwater. Now imagine picking up that dollhouse and slapping a piece of Styrofoam underneath it. This time if you turn the water on and fill up the tub, you're gonna have yourself a floating dollhouse. And this is basically the same idea as for a real house, as long as it's not too tall and skinny. And if the dimensions are right, all you need is enough Styrofoam blocks or plastic pontoons strapped to the bottom of the house to carry the weight of the whole thing.

Elizabeth English: It's exactly the same principle. It's like putting a floating dock under your house.

Lauren: Now my first thought when you told me about this is: what happens when the water comes in? Doesn't the house float away? But you showed me some photos of how they keep that from happening.

Travis: Yeah. Elizabeth calls them vertical guidance posts. If we go back to that dollhouse in the bathtub, the house may be floating, but it's probably moving around a little bit on top of the surface of the water, and then when you drain the tub, it's probably gonna come to rest in a slightly different place. That's fine if we're talking about a dollhouse in a bathtub, but if we're talking about a real house on a real street, you know, you want to make sure that your house doesn't float down the block. And so the way you do that is you attach the floating foundation that you've made to a series of posts on the outside of the house. And this kind of traps it in place, and then the house is allowed to slide up and down those posts, basically, with the floodwaters. And that should make sure that it comes to rest in the exact same spot that it took off from.

Elizabeth English: If you want to get fancy, you can make them telescopic so that you don't see the posts sticking out of the ground.

Travis: It's like a telescope or those, like, old school pointers that cartoon teachers always seem to have that kind of like, extend and retract. She's saying you could do the same idea with just like a really huge version of that made out of pipe.

Lauren: A telescopic amphibiated house. This is awesome. Okay, but my next question is about, like, plumbing and electrical wires and all that. Wouldn't they get ripped up from the ground as the house goes up and down?

Travis: I would have thought so, too, but Elizabeth says no, that there are actually some pretty simple solutions for that.

Elizabeth English: There are many, many ways to accommodate the utilities, and those have already been worked out in the marine industry.

Travis: So she says that you can have electrical wires that are basically coiled up so that they could expand with the rising house. And the same for the water lines. You could use flexible tubes to do the same thing.

Lauren: Cool.

Elizabeth English: Think of a slinky. A coil that can expand allows plenty of room for the water to continue to circulate and not have to be disconnected.

Travis: There are other ways too, that she mentioned, but the point is that there are actually a lot of options that already exist for solving that problem.

Lauren: Okay, so I can see this working. And in the event of a flood and your house starts floating, do you have to evacuate or could you stay there? You still have your utilities working.

Travis: I think Elizabeth is thinking about this for evacuation scenarios. So, you know, if it's a hurricane or something, you would probably already be out of the house. So you would have left town to get away from the damaging winds and stuff. This is meant more to just ensure that, you know, your house is safe, your stuff in your house is safe, and that you can go back to living in it, you know, pretty soon after the storm. You don't have to make a ton of repairs.

Travis: Now here's the thing: this is not some kind of unrealistic fantasy because this is actually happening right here in Louisiana. Just a few hours from New Orleans, there is a little community of homes and fishing camps at this place called Old River Landing where people have been doing this very thing, amphibiating houses for decades. They've been perfecting this technique with each flood, figuring out what works, what doesn't work. And Elizabeth has been there a ton by now. And she said the first time that she went there was actually during one of these floods, so she really got a look at how it was working. And she had to take a boat to get out there.

Elizabeth English: And it was confirming for me to see that they completely independently developed a very similar system. But still, there have been many, many things that I have learned from my friends at Old River Landing, as much from their failures as their successes.

Travis: Okay, so we were talking a little bit earlier about the elevated houses that we see all over this area, and that are on stilts.

Lauren: Yeah, they are all over my neighborhood.

Travis: So in this community of Old River Landing, there's also a lot of houses on stilts. So they're static, they're on stilts, they're in place. They don't move with the floodwaters. But there are also a lot of these amphibious houses. It makes it really easy to compare how they fare in the floodwaters.

Elizabeth English: A number of the houses that were static, they weren't high enough for the new breed of floods that are coming down the river. And the static houses flooded, and the amphibious ones of course rode out the flood.

Travis: Right.

Lauren: I mean, honestly? I'm sold. I'm ready to amphibiate my house. So Travis, you went to Old River, and you went to see some homes. And I'd like to hear about that trip.

Travis: I will tell you all about that trip to Old River right after the break.

Travis: Hey!

Waitress: Hi.

Travis: I'm looking for Jacques. Is he ...

Waitress: He knows you're coming?

Travis: Yeah. Yeah.

Travis: Old River Landing is in Pointe Coupée Parish, which is a few hours from New Orleans. It's just a little bit upriver from Baton Rouge. And it's this really interesting little community. It's on the what we call "unprotected" side of the Mississippi River levee, which means that whenever the Mississippi River floods, this whole community floods. A few people live here full time, but most people are kind of just coming down for a few days at a time to fish. And they're fishing the Raccourci Old River, which is a little offshoot of the Mississippi. Most of the buildings here are trailers, mobile homes, little wooden cabins, and they're just connected by a dirt road along the riverbank.

Jacques LaCour: What's happening?

Travis: Hey, how are ya?

Jacques LaCour: Good.

Travis: Good to see ya.

Jacques LaCour: Jacques LaCour.

Travis: Yeah. Travis Lux.

Jacques LaCour: Good to see you.

Travis: I went to Old River to talk to this guy, Jacques LaCour. Jacques is the manager of Old River Landing. His family owns most of the property that these houses are on so, you know, people own the buildings themselves, but pay rent to Jacques for the little piece of land. And Jacques himself also owns a building there. It's a business—a combination bar, restaurant and bait shop. It's also called Old River Landing, and it's also amphibious.

Lauren: An amphibious bar, restaurant and bait shop. That sounds wild.

Jacques LaCour: Primarily it's a recreational business. We have a boat launch as well as a short order kitchen: burgers, fries, po'boys. Really great catfish. Hamburger steaks. You know, a pretty decent menu considering you're in the middle of nowhere. Of course we sell live bait: crickets and shiners and worms. And we also have a little jukebox, and it's a very family-friendly business, so it's the only business left on this river.

Travis: It's also a seasonal business, which means there's this very narrow window of time when he can actually make money. And this is usually in the summer between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

Jacques LaCour: And if you didn't make it then, chances are you're not going to make it.

Travis: So if he has to shut down after flood season to make some repairs, that's probably gonna eat into his prime money-making season. And this is what used to happen with the old restaurant building.

Jacques LaCour: You know, many times that building went completely underwater. Couldn't see the roof sticking out. Many times. So repairs were always in the months to six weeks. Typically, that would be coming out of your 16 weeks of opportunity to make money. It's just not sensible to be out there unable to sell anything, you know? It just doesn't make sense to me, and all the cost of repairs.

Travis: Which is why he decided to make his restaurant float. He amphibiated it. So he took me on a quick tour to show me how it works. And we started off by crawling underneath one side of the building.

Lauren: Oh my gosh, I'm so glad I missed this part! But Travis? You did it. And you did it for science.

Travis: So these? These are what makes it float.

Jacques LaCour: Right. That's polystyrene.

Travis: That's just like, you know, the stuff you would see under a boat dock, basically.

Jacques LaCour: Yeah, it's Styrofoam.

Travis: Yeah.

Travis: Once you know how much your building weighs, Jacques told me, you know exactly how much Styrofoam to attach under there. So we crawled back out and then went to the side of the building. And both sides of his building are lined by these giant steel pipes anchored in the ground, those vertical guidance posts we were talking about earlier. His has four on each side. And the building's base is attached to those poles with these steel collars, so the whole thing just slides up and down with the floodwaters like Elizabeth was explaining earlier.

Jacques LaCour: The point of it is to hold the structure in location so that it comes down—this building—within two inches of where it was.

Lauren: I mean, two inches or flooding in your house? I would take my house moving two inches.

Travis: Yeah, seems like a good deal to me. And so for Jacques, you know, floating with these floodwaters, it really just makes sense. Like, it's logical because as soon as his building comes back down from the floodwaters and is resting on the ground, he can open up right away without having to make any serious repairs.

Lauren: But he's not open for business when his building is floating, right?

Travis: He's not. He's not. He said he would really like to be. It sounds really cool, but he thinks it's an insurance liability probably for right now. But, you know, the point is that amphibiating saves him money year after year, and he really likes that.

Jacques LaCour: So yeah, it's well worth it in terms of repairs after a flood. As soon as the water gets off of the patio, we can be running in four hours, selling something.

Travis: Back to business.

Jacques LaCour: Back to business.

Travis: So overall, he says amphibiating is cheaper than elevating on stilts, which is probably why so many people have amphibiated in Old River Landing over the years. There are more than 150 buildings, homes over there, and Elizabeth English told me that of those, about 40 of them are amphibious because she's counted them.

Travis: But as for when this trend started, I asked Jacques and he says he thinks the first one was probably in the 1950s, but then it really took off in the 1990s because that is when the flooding became a lot more frequent. And then since the '90s even, these floods have been even worse.

Jacques LaCour: Back then, the elevation of these floods was not as significant as it has been in recent years. So a lot of these camps got raised 10 feet, you know? "Oh, it's not gonna get wet." Let me tell you something: if you get two inches of water in your home, you just as well have gotten six feet. It's a nightmare. [laughs] It's a nightmare.

Travis: Okay, so we've mostly just been talking about the advantages of amphibiation through the lens of business with Jacques. But there are all kinds of other benefits, too. At least compared to elevating your house.

Lauren: Like what?

Travis: So for example, you know, your house isn't way up in the sky, and so what that means is you don't have to walk up multiple flights of stairs to get to your front porch every day. That's way better for a lot of people, especially people with mobility issues. And then the other issue related to being, you know, up in the air like that is like, think about porch culture in New Orleans. So many important neighborhood connections happen on front porches down here. And so if your house is way up there, you know, 10, 15 feet in the air? That changes your whole relationship to the street and your neighbors.

Lauren: And if you do raise your house on stilts, there's no way to know that you've raised it high enough, because like Jack says, two inches of water is the same as six feet.

Travis: Right.

Lauren: Yeah. So at this point I'm like, why don't we just do this to every house in New Orleans? We are underwater. We might as well, right? I mean, but I know you're about to be like, no, there's a reason. [laughs]

Travis: [laughs] Yeah, unfortunately there are some caveats.

Lauren: Yeah.

Elizabeth English: This is not a good strategy for every type of house.

Travis: Okay, so here we are back to Elizabeth English. And Elizabeth says for the most part, if you can elevate a house, you can amphibiate that same house. But it's way better for some houses than others. So for example, if your house has a basement, you wouldn't do this unless you're willing to lose your basement. And it's also not super easy for slab-on-grade houses, which means those houses that are, you know, sitting on a concrete slab.

Lauren: So basically, it needs to be a wooden house that's already slightly elevated off the ground. And that is my house!

Travis: Perfect for you! Yeah, and so luckily this is a super common style of house down here in Louisiana. Like, the shotgun house of New Orleans. This is perfect for shotgun houses. And it works really great for trailers and mobile homes too, which is why you see it so much in Old River Landing.

Lauren: So this is a pretty specific subset of houses that this would work for.

Travis: Right. But we are really only talking about technology here. And there's ...

Lauren: Is there another reason why we can't do this?

Travis: There's a downer.

Lauren: Mm, no. Because this is a good idea, and I just really feel like we need to make at least one episode this season that lets everybody know that everything's okay and there's no downers. [laughs]

Travis: In a climate change podcast we're gonna do that?

Lauren: All right, Travis. Hit me with it.

Travis: All right. It all comes back to flood insurance.

Lauren: No, I don't want to talk about this again.

Travis: I know we just did a whole episode about flood insurance, and I also thought we were done with it, but here we are. It seeps into everything.

Lauren: It's so confusing! All right, so how is flood insurance trying to stop me from making my home not flood? [laughs]

Travis: FEMA, FEMA, FEMA. So as we know, FEMA runs the National Flood Insurance Program, and basically FEMA has said that except in certain situations, cities and towns should not allow amphibious homes to be built. And if they do, FEMA might say, "Okay, cool. Great. Then you, city or town, you're no longer eligible for flood insurance through the NFIP. And on top of that, if you do this, if you amphibiate your house, you're gonna lose flood insurance."

Lauren: But why doesn't FEMA want houses to be amphibiated? You would think they would like this idea because those houses wouldn't flood, and then they wouldn't have to worry about paying out insurance to fix those houses.

Travis: Yup. It's confusing to me too. And so I reached out to FEMA—or tried to. I sent them a bunch of questions, a whole list, and all they sent back was a single sentence answer, and here's what they said: "FEMA Building Science does not promote this type of solution to make communities more resilient, nor would they meet minimum NFIP requirements."

Travis: According to Elizabeth English, current FEMA requirements say that a building needs to be physically attached to the ground in order to be eligible for flood insurance. And so because these homes, amphibious homes, are moving up and down with the floodwater, they're not considered to be attached.

Lauren: But that still doesn't answer the question about why FEMA doesn't want this.

Travis: It doesn't, really. And I really wish FEMA would have given me some more answers. But here's what Elizabeth told me: she has talked for years and years and gone back and forth with FEMA, and her take on it is basically, amphibious construction could make it possible for people to live in areas with a lot of flooding.

Elizabeth English: And they didn't want to see developers moving into marsh lands and swamp lands and floodplains, areas that are currently restricted, and build new housing in these areas.

Travis: So these are ecologically-sensitive areas, flood-prone areas. And the possible fear is that if amphibious housing was way more accessible to people, then you might see cities and towns allowing it, because they could make money off of those property taxes. And for her part, Elizabeth says she thinks this is a pretty good reason not to allow amphibious architecture to run rampant, but it's still frustrating for her because she's not trying to build, you know, entire gated communities out of amphibious houses in the marsh, her whole thing is preserving housing where it already is, where people already live.

Elizabeth English: I mean, one of the paradoxes is that FEMA will give flood insurance to the statically-elevated houses in Old River Landing, while they will not insure anything that's amphibious. And so when there was a huge flood in 2011 and the amphibious houses all floated just fine, no damage. And quite a few of the houses on stilts were built to the FEMA requirements of base flood elevation of 11 feet. Meaning that the bottom of the structure is 11 feet above the ground. But there was a 15-foot flood. And so a lot of those houses that were built according to the FEMA standards were flooded, but they had flood insurance, so the government paid out for them, but the amphibious houses were just fine.

Travis: Yeah.

Elizabeth English: They didn't have insurance, but they didn't need it.

Travis: And so, you know, maybe as you can imagine, Elizabeth has had a lot of conversations with FEMA over the years. And for a while there, she was doing more talking about flooding and flood policy than actual design work, which is what she really wanted to be doing, and that, like, she almost gave up on this idea because it just was so frustrating. She didn't, though. A friend talked her into sticking with it, and so instead, she just turned her attention to other countries outside of the United States. And so for the last several years she's been working in places like Vietnam designing and building amphibious houses for people who can really make use of them.

Elizabeth English: There are so many people across the world living in the fertile land that is deltaic, is the floodplains. And as sea level rise happens, there are going to have to be huge changes. How can we make these changes less horrific for the people who are at the bottom of the power scale?

Travis: Elizabeth really thinks being able to ride out floods, ride out sea level rise with an amphibious home could make a huge difference in quality of life.

Elizabeth English: The alternative is migration. And where are all these people gonna go? They're so much better off if they can stay where they are, that they are not wiped out by a devastating event, and then they have nothing and no place to live, and where are they gonna go? Amphibious construction is an alternative that provides protection, maybe not for an infinite length of time, but certainly long enough to keep the people's belongings safe, and allow them to continue their livelihoods, or being able to decide if they're going to leave, when they're going to leave.

Lauren: So basically what she's saying is an amphibiated house can empower people who live in places prone to flooding.

Elizabeth English: Absolutely. Having agency in the situation, not being a victim of a disastrous event, and being forced to move because of the circumstances and the trauma of all of that.

Travis: I like this idea because, I mean, she's saying, you know, even if moving is inevitable, maybe there's a future in which you do have to move because things will be so bad, amphibiating your house at the very least buys you a little bit of time to make that decision on your own terms. You know, you get to decide when the water becomes unacceptable. No one's deciding for you. Floodwaters aren't deciding for you, the government isn't deciding for you. And so for Elizabeth, amphibious houses are just essentially a little bit more humane, especially considering this future that climate change is threatening.

Lauren: I mean, I'm just a comedian, but I'm really thinking that FEMA needs to revisit these regulations because it feels like people could currently benefit from it if there was some policy change. And I mean, climate change is here. We know this. And I need to amphibiate my house!

Travis: Yeah. I also hope FEMA will talk to me more about this one day and we can all kind of have a little bit better understanding of their hesitation. But, you know, maybe this technology is just a little bit new, and they need some time to think about it, because Elizabeth will tell you, you know, there aren't actual building codes for how to do this safely and at scale. But mostly, you know, I just hope that FEMA and other government agencies around the world are gonna be willing to think outside the box because, you know, regardless of amphibious houses or whatever technology we're talking about, we're at a point where we need really creative solutions because as you said, climate change is here.

Lauren: So that's it. We are ending the season on a high note.

Travis: [laughs]

Lauren: FEMA and policy change. [laughs] We did it! Yeah?

Travis: We did it. We did a whole season, Lauren.

Lauren: Yes! Let's do the credits. It's the last time this season.

Travis: Let's do it.

Lauren: Life Raft is a production of WWNO, WRKF and PRX, and is made possible in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people.

Travis: And this episode was produced by me, Travis Lux, and edited by Curtis Fox. Original music is by Peter Bowling and additional music is by Blue Dot Sessions.

Lauren: The logo art is by Laura Sanders, and WWNO's Coastal Desk is supported by the Greater New Orleans Foundation and the Walton Family Foundation.

Travis: This was the final episode of this very first season of Life Raft, and to everyone listening, I want to say a wholehearted thank you so much for listening. We really couldn't have done this show without you if you hadn't sent us questions and also you hadn't listened to the thing that we made, you know, this wouldn't exist. So thank you.

Lauren: Thank you everyone, and we just want to give a shout-out to everyone who sent in a question—all of you. So many people sent in questions, and we just couldn't make a whole episode about each one. There was not enough time.

Travis: But if we play our cards right we're gonna be able to make a second season. So if you've been listening to Life Raft, we have a favor to ask about season two. We're making this show for you, and we want to know what did you like, what did you not like, what are ways we could improve? So in the show notes, there is a link to a very short survey that we would love for you to fill out. It really takes, like, five minutes or less to fill out, but it's gonna go a long way toward helping us make the show better. in the future.

Lauren: And if you fill it out, you'll be entered into a raffle to win a prize.

Travis: Yes. And you'll be able to choose that prize once we figure out what those prizes are. We'll just have to reach out to you and give you the buffet of options. Before you go, there's one more favor that we have to ask: you know, we're sitting here talking about season two, and we really do want to make it, but the truth is it's gonna come down to money. It's currently unfunded, and so we're gonna have to raise that money to make it happen, which we want to do. We're gonna be looking for support from foundations and corporate sponsors, so if you're one of those people, certainly hit us up if you want to help make that work. But we're also looking for support from individual donors, individual listeners. So if you want to make a small donation, one-time donation to Life Raft, you can do that. There is a link in the show notes. You can throw a couple bucks our way, whatever you're comfortable with. While we're talking about season two, you know, if you really like this show, we want to make sure that our bosses know. So if you love the show, send a short little email to the GM of New Orleans Public Radio and WRKF and just say "Hey, I really like Life Raft. I really value this show." His name's Paul. His email is:

Lauren: And while we figure out the future and what it holds for Life Raft, we'll be dropping some bonus material in the feed every now and then to keep things fresh. But until then, thank you so much for listening, y'all. Stay safe, be cool, and have a great summer.

Travis: Talk to you later.

Lauren: Bye-bye!

Alex: All right. Thank you all so much for listening to this episode of <i>Life Raft</i>, produced again by WWNO, WRKF and PRX. If you want to check out the rest of their episodes, this show is available on Spotify—just search Life Raft. It is also available on NPR, and at

Alex: Me and the rest of our climate change gang will be back next week with a new episode of How to Save a Planet. It's gonna be a really good one. We'll see you next week.

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