St. Charles Herald-Guide

Grand Isle is back to normal for the summer

By Allen Lottinger - June 14, 2006

Less than a year after Hurricane Katrina destroyed or damaged just about every structure there, Grand Isle is just like it used to be.

This past weekend, children were playing in the sand, couples were sunning and smooching on the beach. The woman with the broad straw hat was pulling in the specks with her live bait in the surf, fishing boats were heading to the rigs for mangrove snapper and otherwise and crabbers were scooping up the curstaceans.

Father Mike asked first time visitors at mass to stand up and be recognized and there were quite a few, several from faraway states. Sureway was buzzing with activity of people buying ingredients for jambalaya and the crab boil. Bridgeside Marina was greeting visitors with a stunning new building as they crossed the bridge. The old one was washed away when the hurricane stirred up the waters in Caminada Bay.

Most of the structures destroyed at Grand Isle were mobile homes but just about every building had some damage. Workers were re-building Tahiti East, the mobile home village a mile from the bridge, but the new trailers are being elevated. Estay’s shrimp platform is no longer there but nearby Blanchard’s is still providing jumbos for $3 a pound.

There is still some debris on the levee which also has a few knicks in it from the surging sea. Many residents and camp owners were helping to clean it up. Most of the trash that had piled up along the highway has been picked up.

The beach in most areas was big and clean. Norris, who drives the beach sweeper, was at work making beachcombers happy.

Spirits were high and it looks like this could be one of the best summers ever on Louisiana’s island paradise.

Folks in St. Charles Parish should be happy to have Grand Isle there for at least two reasons. It gives us a place to go and enjoy Mother Nature at her finest. And, as an offshore island just south of here, it is our first line of defense in calming down approaching storms.