Left in the wake of Hurricane Ida’s path, the state of the city of Grand Isle was awfully grim, but as it is outlined in this feature article from Nola.com, nine months after the storm passed, things are starting to look up as anglers and fishermen return to the nine-mile island.
The feature article spoke directly to citizens of Grand Isle to take a reading on how the community was fairing this long after Ida, thus making the account of the island’s comeback reliable and promising to say the least. One local fisherman, Frank Dreher commented on the striking restoration efforts that have taken place in the area in the last few months.
Dreher said “the one thing everyone has to know is the island and the waters certainly do not look like what they did before the storm. Most of the debris has been removed and the demolition of some camps continues. It’s been a long road, and we got a lot of support from our friends, the fishermen we’ve seen for years. It’s exciting to be back and exciting to see our friends come back.”
After Grand Isle was hit particularly hard by the devastating winds, storm surges, and other effects of Hurricane Ida, the outlook wasn’t positive. The community was left without electricity, water, fuel, food, and all other comforts, making many business owners and camp owners begin their processes of rebuilding and reopening the island with heavy hearts. As outlined in the feature, it would be months before these workers would be aided with electricity being restored or support services coming back to the island, but the strong workers put in their best efforts to repair the island.
In October of 2021, charter fishermen like Frank Dreher worked with professional crews to clean up the island using their materials, boats, and wherewithal. These members of the Grand Isle community used their own free time to round up, procure, and supply the necessary materials to build back the island, and thankfully it paid off. When crews began the process of rebuilding the island’s stores, streets, and shores in October, they were joined by the reopening of Grand Isle’s big grocery store Sureway, which was operating on power from a generator. In the coming months, power and water followed, and hope was gradually restored.
One of the largest projects facing the islanders wanting to assist in the restoration efforts was the resurrection of the iconic Grand Isle staple: The Bridge Side Marina. Because it’s the first marina that visitors to Grand Isle see whenever they’re crossing the Caminada Bay bridge, it’s often synonymous with the city itself, thus making it the perfect restoration site for islanders Buggy and Dodie Vegas, who were interviewed by reporters from Nola.com.
Today, Bridge Side Marina is open once again, and it’s supplied with fuel, ice, live shrimp, tackles, minnows, and food. All of this means that enough is in stock to bring life back to the once-vibrant Marina, and there’s enough bait to ensure that enough life will be caught as well.
Community member Dodie Vegas was confident in Grand Isle’s comeback; he reported that the Bridge Side store’s deli is set to reopen in late May. Additionally, he told reporters, “It’s still a work in progress. We’re shooting to have bait boats providing live croakers for Memorial Day weekend. We had to rebuild docks, and we have a barge in the marina building a new dock,” he said. “And, we’ve rebuilt about half our rooms. The RV park is hooked up 100%, and we’re working around the fishermen in the morning and working on the place the rest of the day.”
Though, this Grand Isle comeback isn’t only because of the Marina’s return, because the Blue Dolphin inn and at least a half of a dozen RV parks are currently reopened and operating in the area alongside restaurants.
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