Beach at the End of the World

Grand Isle is a town in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, located on a barrier island of the same name. The island is at the mouth of Barataria Bay where it meets the Gulf of Mexico. As of the 2000 census, the town population was 1,541; during summers, the population increases to more than 20,000. While New Orleanians often prefer the 70-mile drive to the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Grand Isle has always been a popular beach destination for other Louisianians farther south in the Cajun towns of Thibodaux, Houma, and other such communities. Grand Isle is part of the New Orleans–Metairie–Kenner Metropolitan Statistical Area. Its only land connection to the mainland is via an automobile causeway bridge near the west end of the island, which connects it to southern Lafourche Parish, LA. Grand Isle has been repeatedly pummeled by hurricanes through its history. On average, Grand Isle has been affected by tropical storms or hurricanes every 2.68 years since 1877, with hurricane direct hits on average every 7.88 years. This gallery displays a journey to Grand Isle on July 19, 2009.

To see a subtitled PPT slide presentation, click here:

If you appreciate the fragile ecosystem of a disappearing beach, see this November 2008 article from Science Daily. Also see this July 2009 article from the New Orleans Times-Picayune on Grand Isle's Renewal.