CAMERON, La (KPLC-TV) – A group of geography and anthropology researchers and students from LSU visited Southwest Louisiana this weekend as part of a two-year study to find out how flood insurance impacts residents.
Researchers passed out 2,500 mail-in surveys to residents in Lake Charles, Hackberry and Cameron.
The group makes it clear; they're not interested in validating flood maps. They really just want to get residents' opinions on flood insurance.
"We're not interested in [whether] these maps are accurate or not, but we want to see how people perceive these maps and how willing they are to purchase flood insurance," said Melanie Gall, an associate professor at the LSU Department of Geography and Anthropology.
"What we hope to achieve with our data collection and with the work we're doing is to give feedback to FEMA on what people's perspective is on paying for flood insurance," continued Gall.
According to the researchers, the information they gather would improve the relationship residents have with the federal agencies that administered the National Flood Insurance Program.
"It's important for people to be honest and answer these surveys so that we can understand better that process of negotiation between these federal agencies and the individual communities," said Jenny Hay, a PHD student in LSU's geography and anthology department.
The group will collect data in six parishes. The parishes were not chosen based on their probability to experience flooding.
The data researchers collect will be released to the public in meetings held at the end of the year.
The study was approved by the LSU Institutional Review Board. Funding for the project was made possibly by Louisiana Sea Grant.