Score: 24

A one-two punch from Katrina and the BP oil-well blowout have put this culturally and ecologically rich “Sportsman’s Paradise” in difficult straits, as have stewardship compromises made long before the late disasters.

Here is a representative sampling of additional anonymous comments from the panelists. They are not necessarily the views of the National Geographic Society:

"Environmental issues have been wreaking havoc for decades. Channels dug to provide access for oil rigs and equipment have been killing off healthy wetlands, allowing salt water to infiltrate and kill off the vegetation. This slow, sure death of the precious wetlands has been underway long before the disastrous oil rig explosion."

"In trouble from decades of mismanagement and environmental degradation. Hurricane Katrina did serious damage to the coastal wetlands, and now the oil spill is adding insult to injury."

"The oil spill has the capacity to overshadow even Katrina’s devastation, with the long-term degradation of the ecosystem, the breakdown of the wetlands, and the linked economic and cultural challenges. But the bayous and wetlands of coastal Louisiana sure are fascinating both ecologically and culturally."

"Until the BP spill, it looked as if a turn-around was beginning, with a new appreciation for the need to protect the wetlands, habitat, and fishing stock."

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