- Posted June 5, 2010 by
Grand Isle, Louisiana
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Track the oil disaster
Deserted Grand Isle, June 5, 2010
We arrived at Grand Isle at 1 pm on 6/5/2010, and we were greeted by signs of anger and frustration (photo 1). On the way to Grand Isle State Park, which is located on the eastern end of the island, we saw two birds preening alongside the road. One bird had oil on its ruff. Neither animal took notice of us as we stopped the car, turned around, then stopped again to take a photograph of their self-grooming.
The beaches are still closed here. However, access to the fishing pier at the state park is still granted, as long as one does not stray from the boards and onto the sand. From the pier, we were able to see a bit of what was transpiring.
The tangy, slightly fishy smell of the ocean is gone. The stench of crude oil hangs heavy in the air, but it competes with a lemony, citrus odor which blows in from over the water. Perhaps it's the odor of the dispersants?
As we went down the pier, we saw double-sets of booms (held together with straps) on the beach behind sand berms right above the high-tide line. In front of these, clear plastic bags containing oil-tainted sand were placed in a small group. Aside from two people sitting under one of the little wooden kiosks, and three officials walking along the oil-stained sands (one wearing a "DNR" shirt), there was no one else on the beach itself. There were no workers cleaning the area in the approximately 3-4 hours we were there.
On the beach itself, weathered oil sat thickly on the sand where high tide had placed it. Up to 20 feet across in some areas, the shiny patches glinted sadly in the sun. Although we looked, there were no dead or sick animals in the immediate vicinity on the beach. Clean pelicans and gulls swooped lazily overhead.
In the waves themselves, we observed ribbons of oil sheen, as well as oil globules as large as 2 inches across as they floated lazily towards the beach. When we left, the oil sheen was washing up onto the sand and mingling with the tiny grains.
Along the Gulf Coast, we all have a right to be angry at what is being destroyed. These beaches, no matter how "cleaned" they may be, will release hydrocarbons again when the next hurricane roars ashore and disturbs the oil which is being covered by the sands and the tide.
We left Grand Isle in tears. Grand Isle is a dynamic, busy beach usually, and it was heartbreaking and infuriating to see it drenched in old oil. A sign on one of the houses said it all: "Dream is Gone".