A sinking Indian settlement known as Isle de Jean Charles in south Terrebonne Parish may soon be replaced on a 515-acre sugar cane farm near Thibodaux where state officials hope to resettle the residents.
The settlement, where it is, has been sinking at a rapid rate for several years and its relocation has been under consideration for some time.
Most of the residents of the community are members of the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw tribe who will become the first beneficiaries of a $48 million federal grant to relocate communities fleeing climate change.
They will be moved about 40 miles to the northwest where their land would be much less susceptible to flooding than where they are now on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. Their new location would be far more accessible to stores, schools and health needs which residents of the island find hard to get to especially when the only road accessible to their island homes is under water.
Hurricane Gustav reportedly damaged half of some 50 homes there and experts figure the entire island could be under water in five to 25 years.
Isle de Jean Charles now has some 100 residents on the island and the new site will have room for them and the 100 or more tribal members who have already moved away. The farm they will occupy could eventually have some 200 to 300 houses, estimates claim.
Homes not occupied by tribal members could be sold as they are in any other developments, however there is some concern about dilution of the tribe’s culture with that from other people.
For years now, however, people from Isle de Jean Charles seemingly have gotten along very well with citizens from the bayous of nearby Terrebonne and Lafourche Parishes. And it does not seem that it would be a problem continuing it that way.
People from the bayou country of Louisiana have gotten along well together, no matter where the origins of their neighbors were from or who their ancestors were.
And we expect them to continue in that manner of living in the future.