Vermilion Parish lies on the central Louisiana coast and is described as the “heart of Cajun country.” Picturesque Abbeville and other small communities draw tourists from all over the world. The half of the parish that isn’t coastal marshland relies on farming rice and sugarcane. Fishing, shrimping and the crawfish industry (aquaculture and processing) also contribute to the economy.
Most of the approximately 54,000 population lives in the northeastern portion of the parish, in Abbeville and Erath. Along the coast, thousands of acres of untouched wetlands are an annual stop for North American migratory birds and offer spawning grounds for an enormous variety of marine life.
After Hurricane Rita, residents of Vermilion Parish expressed concerns about ensuring the sustainability of their natural resources:
"We treasure our natural resources. The preservation of local culture is intertwined with concerns for the sustainability of our local fishing, crawfish and rice farming.”