BY JOE MACALUSO
Advocate Outdoors writer
October 13, 2012
The rain, winds and water came, and left, and first reports from Grand Isle and the Pointe Fourchon area are good.
The only problem is accessing Grand Isle: The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development confirmed reports that a portion of La. 1 south of Fourchon Road washed out.
Law enforcement agencies, mostly the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office and Port Fourchon Police, are organizing convoys south on La. 1 from Fourchon Road to the island.
Public Information Officer B.R. Hall said late Friday DOTD began repairs to the roadway Saturday and the agency hoped to have emergency repairs completed by Sunday to reopen the highway.
Otherwise, folks who made trips to Grand Isle and Pointe Fourchon found better-than-expected conditions.
“It’s not nearly as bad as what we thought we’d see,” charter fishing guide Frank Dreher said after making the early morning trip from Baton Rouge to Grand Isle.
“There are downed power cables, but no (electric line) poles are down. On the other side (east side) of Sureway (grocery store) poles are leaning, but most of damage I saw was north of the island.”
Dreher said Grand Isle officials told residents and camp owners that power could be restored as soon as late Monday.
“There’s not that much damage here,” Dreher said. “There are no camps blown away. There is minor roof damage, and there was 2-3 feet of water under most camps, maybe a little deeper on the western end of the island, but the Sureway is open and serving food and selling whatever we need. It’s just general clean-up work and that’s much better than it could have been.”
Sam Barbera spent Friday night and Saturday at Pointe Fourchon, a community of mostly Capital City area outdoorsmen, on Fourchon Road.
“From what we’ve seen, most of the camps had 4-6 inches of water on the bottom floors, just a little water over the slabs, but not a lot of mud like (Hurricane) Gustav washed in here,” Barbera said. “There’s a minimum amount of silt. It’s messy and there is no power, but the people down here look at it like being without power in a Baton Rouge neighborhood.
“There’s minor damage, and Moran’s (Marina) is open for business,” Barbera said, adding, “It’s almost like you had a messy cousin stay for the weekend. There’s just a little more to clean up than usual.”
In the initial hours of Isaac’s passage through south Louisiana, Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents rescued 1,537 residents in St. John the Baptist, St. Tammany and Tangipahoa parishes. The number is expected to rise since that report was filed early Thursday morning.
- Elmer’s Island will remain closed, mostly because of damage to the roadway leading to the beach, but the LDWF announced that 21 of the near 30 wildlife management areas closed Wednesday were reopened Saturday.
As of Saturday, still-closed WMAs include Elm Hall, Joyce, Lake Ramsey, Manchac, Maurepas Swamp and Pearl River. All are in areas that continue to have flooding problems.
- The storm closed the Waddill Outdoor Education Center in Baton Rouge, but LDWF officials said it will reopen Tuesday.
- LDWF biologists said property owners should expect floodwaters to move wildlife from flooded habitat into residential and commercial areas and “urges citizens to minimize contact with animals while they seek temporary refuge from their flooded home range ... and avoid feeding the animals.”
- LDWF fisheries biologists asked that anyone finding fish kills to report the waterbody and the location by calling (800) 442-2511.