Watch part two
The wetlands of the Mississippi Delta are disappearing with severe consequences for the whole Gulf coast, its people, its industries and its environment.
The Delta's wetlands are being destroyed at a rate equal to 30 football fields a day. As with the land, the people are also disappearing from the region. The Bayou communities feel neglected and forgotten, and are under constant threat from a rising sea.
In this Al Jazeera special Nick Clark travels on Highway 1 through what remains of this once prosperous region that today represents a warning of things to come.
The Louisiana bayous are a living symbol of the impact of global warming and excessive human abuse of the environment. Already, human displacement is under way.
Meet the Cajuns
In the first part of the show we meet with Windell Curole, a seventh-generation Cajun and general manager of the South Lafourche Levee district. He takes us to what is left of Leeville - a now submerged Cajun town.
He will explain how their culture is shaped by the marshes. The Cajuns today are a product of where they lived.
We then meet with Eric Hanson, a shrimper whose industry is being severely impacted.
Finally, we meet Bobby Brown and other old Cajuns who meet to remember the good old days of the past.
If the Cajuns are at risk of losing their economy and customs there is one community that has already run out of options.
In the second part of the programme, we go to Isle de Jean Charles. It is a narrow ridge of land, belonging to what is left of the Biloxi-Chitimacha tribe, a Native American people that lived there for hundreds of years.
Albert Naquin, the chief of the tribe, recently announced that the group will have to leave their ancestral land and move north and go behind levees on higher ground.
To understand how we got to this point we go back 80 years to when, under the leadership of visionary Louisiana governor, Huey P. Long, much of what the state as it looks today was created.
The Louisiana coast has long depended on the routine overflow of the Mississippi River to deposit its sediment load and build land. But Long, a radical populist, initiated a series of social reforms that lifted Louisiana from grinding poverty.
The building of streets, bridges, levees and canals modernised the region but at the expense of life on the Bayou. Without the sediments brought in from the Mississippi River the land started to subside.
Coastal restoration efforts
The most disturbing concern is that coastal restoration efforts have been under way for two decades, but not a single project capable of reversing the trend currently awaits approval. We discuss this with Kerry St. Pe'a , a marine biologist and director of the Terrebonne National Estuary Program who thinks there is less than 10 years to act before the loss is irreversible.
We also meet Roy Dokka, a professor at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, who recently revealed how for decades elevations in coastal Louisiana have been systematically overstated.
And finally we visit Port Fourchon, a cluster with sport fishing camps, gated communities and huge docks that are the base for the oil and gas industry's offshore drilling operations.
Now, close to 20 per cent of US fuel - in excess of $63bn - passes through Port Fourchon from deep-water gulf wells.
It is the bayou's boom town and many along the bayou feel that only the revenues from oil exploitation can save Louisiana from sinking in the Gulf.
Losing Louisiana aired from Saturday, December 12, 2009.