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Celebrating July 4th On Grand Isle, LA PDF Print E-mail
Written by Dean Flewwellin   
Tuesday, 06 July 2010 16:31

Celebrating is still on the schedule for the residents & visitors on this exciting island, which is still awaiting the "Great Gulf Gusher Of 2010" to begin washing onto the seven miles of beach.   Hurricane Alex is finally calming down those 10  to 12 foot waves that have churned up the Gulf, but also chopped up the oil spill plumes.   The one to two foot higher tides are just barely bumping up against those double booms, so you can hardly tell high tide from low tide.  Much of the oil has dropped to the bottom, but if strong onshore winds persist, the gooey mess is expected to decorate the "donaxes" (seashells) of destiny.   It appears that only a storm hitting the island directly will ever burst over the booms.

Another story that is not being told, is that there are three sand bars very close to the beach.   These are probably catching most of the oil before it is reaching the beach itself.   If you don't walk into the surf, you don't know it - or see them.   You walk into the surf, and go about chest high, then up to waist deep.   Then you repeat this two more times.   Surf fishermen usually cast out from the 3rd sand bar, to reach the deeper water with larger fish - especially red fish.

Fireworks always begins on July 1st here, as those who have them, are already burning a hole in their psyche.   Each day, fireworks sparkle and boom above the island, as everyone races to their decks to watch the spectacular show.   During the evenings of July 3rd & 4th, the heavyweights light up the sky with from one to five hours of "bombs bursting in air."   Frequently, with up to seven displays at the same time, watchers are continuing to move their chairs to watch as many as possible.   Our next-door neighbor has the largest and longest display, and "blast off" is from the open field about two-hundred feet from the back "Poop-deck" of our camp.   Thus, we all enjoy watching them race around, and setting them off with an exploding boom.   This annual display is longer than the nightly fireworks at Disney World in Orlando, FL, but WDW has fancier displays.   This year, BP has financed a nice fireworks display at the Bridgeside Marina, which I am sure is appreciated by everyone.
There is still a lot of traffic on the two-lane highway on Grand Isle, which is enhanced by the national guard, Coast Guard, BP, and "Tar Baby" workers.   All of the camps appear to be filled with our world famous "Party People," with six vehicles parked at our camp, and seven at the 3-story camp to our east.   The Safeway grocery/department store had fifty vehicles parked in front, and I almost didn't get a parking spot.   The restaurants are filled for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.   The souvenir shops are reporting a slower season though.
The news media has been sensationalizing almost everything, with friends and relatives continuing to ask me how much damage to our camp.  There has been NO DAMAGE to any camps!   There is no oil on the Gulf side beach, with the exception of the east end of Grand Isle, and possibly the western end too.   Nearby Port Fourchon, which supplies the Gulf oil rigs, does have oil hitting their beaches and marshes.   It appears that the Grand Isle beach has a great defense, with two booms, a three-foot high "Tiger Berm" - which is probably named after our Louisiana State University.   Then there are two types of sand-catching fences, plus a thirteen foot high levee.   However, it does appear that OTHER BEACHES (MS, AL, AND FL) are being hit with the major oil spill at this time.
People here are only banned from the water itself.   That's it!   Most of these people here who visit the beach are there for the tan and maybe wade up to their waist in the surf.   Nobody actually swims!   In the past nine years, I have only seen about five people actually swimming.   Most, and especially men, just wade to their waist - and simply stand there with a beer or cigarette in their hand and "shoot the bull."   Males and females alike tend to wear a hat and sunglasses while in the water.  They really don't do much IN THE WATER, thus not like the rest of the world.   They appear to be simply showing an image, partying, BBQing, and talk - talk - talk.   People are walking and jogging on the beach, sitting on the levee, taking photos - but no "waterbugs."
It is rather interesting that people down here have no idea of how the people up north live through those harsh winters, with snow, ice, below zero temperatures and blizzards.   By the same token, northerners and mid-westerners don't quite understand the seaside people who live near the beaches and Gulf.   What you see on TV simply doesn't quite tell the whole story.   A TV reporter just reporting live from Grand Isle said that he could only see five people in any direction, which is probably true, but as in our case, there are from twelve to sixteen people inside the camp partying.
However, the news media appears to be more on target with the damage to the seafood industry and the people who make it all happen.   I highly doubt if anyone will starve in "Cajun Country" - especially when they can drive to a nearby marsh or swamp, and catch a bunch of "mudbugs" (crawdad's or crawfish).   They have done this for generations!   Probably ever since pirate Jean Lafitte roamed Grand Isle.

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 06 July 2010 17:19