Louisiana’s economy is changing. What does that mean for you?

Louisiana is in the middle of a major economic transition. More than a quarter of a million Louisianans are currently employed in the oil and gas extraction industry. But employment in the sector has shrunk and is poised to get smaller, leaving many to find new work. 

Transition seems straightforward, but it’s not. How to shift our economy can be divisive, with the voices of those most impacted by the change often drowned out. 

That’s why we want to hear from Louisianans who live with the impact about the best ways forward. 

Over the next month, The Current will host a series of Listening Sessions with folks on the front lines. We want to bring together people with different, even opposing, views to dig deeper into this important discussion. 

It’s part of Untapped Potential, a solutions reporting project that explores how Louisiana doesn’t have to choose between its environment and its economy. 

If you’re someone who is connected to this issue, we want to hear from you. 

Maybe you’re an offshore worker or diver who loves your work and has concerns about how it’s represented in the news. Maybe you’ve recently been laid off, seen cuts to your hours, or chosen to leave the industry for other work. Maybe you live in a neighborhood that’s dealt with pollution from oil and gas, or a coastal area that’s seen land loss due to oil and gas exploration, or a community reaping significant benefit from the industry.

Listening first will help us produce better, more nuanced and more impactful stories. Your voice will shape that process.

How the Listening Sessions work

Sessions will be on Zoom. We’re booking small groups of no more than eight people at a time, plus facilitators. 

Sessions will be moderated. It’s an open discussion, but reporter Ty Baniewicz and editor Christiaan Mader will help guide the conversation. 

Sessions will be confidential. We want you to feel comfortable speaking openly. These will be “off the record” — i.e. your comments and participation will not appear in print — but we will record them for internal review. 

Sessions will get real. We’re purposefully seeking out people with differing views. We think it’s important to find value in constructive disagreement. 

Why would I do this? Because you believe there is hope for consensus and progress when folks have an opportunity to listen to each other. Because your perspective matters and is missing from our coverage. Because you want your ideas heard.

How to sign up

Fill out the form below and indicate that you’re interested in joining us. From there, we’ll send you a sign-up link to choose a session. Here are the dates scheduled so far: 

  • Tuesday 6/15 – 6 p.m.
  • Saturday 6/19 – Noon
  • Tuesday 6/29 – 2 p.m.