Grand Isle, Louisiana: Wikis

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Town of Grand Isle
Town
Country United States
State Louisiana
Parish Jefferson
Elevation ft (2.1 m) [1]
Coordinates 29°13′40″N 90°00′44″W / 29.22778°N 90.01222°W / 29.22778; -90.01222
Area 7.8 sq mi (20.2 km2)
 - land 6.1 sq mi (16 km2)
 - water 1.7 sq mi (4 km2), 21.79%
Population 1,541 (2000)
Density 251.1 /sq mi (97 /km2)
Mayor David Camardelle
Timezone CST (UTC-6)
 - summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
Area code 985
Location of Grand Isle in Louisiana
Location of Louisiana in the United States
Website: http://www.grand-isle.com

Grand Isle (French: Grande-Île) 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 has increased to over 20,000. Grand Isle is part of the New OrleansMetairieKenner Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Grand Isle's 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, Louisiana. To reach the rest of Jefferson Parish by roadway, one has to travel through two different parishes (Lafourche and St. Charles) through a total distance of about 95 miles (153 km).

Contents

History

Grand Isle has been repeatedly pummelled 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[2]. Only some of the more severe are listed here.

In 1860 a 6-foot (1.8 m) storm surge and great winds resulted in the total devastation of the island.

In the 1893 Atlantic hurricane season Grand Isle was devastated by a 16-foot (4.9 m) storm surge.

In the 1909 Atlantic hurricane season the island was hit with a second 16-foot (4.9 m) storm surge.

A Category 4 hurricane devastated Grand Isle on 29 September during the 1915 Atlantic hurricane season.

Grand Isle was hit by a 3.6-foot (1.1 m) storm surge on 22 August during the 1947 Atlantic hurricane season.

In 1956 Hurricane Flossy damaged the island.

Grand Isle was hit by Hurricane Betsy in September 1965.

Tropical Storm Frances put the entire island under water in 1998.

On 26 September, 2002, Grand Isle was hit by Tropical Storm Isidore.

Hurricane Katrina hit Grand Isle very hard, on August 28-29, 2005, destroying or damaging homes and camps along the entire island. Katrina's surge reached 5 ft (1.5 m) at Grand Isle. Large waves severely damaged the only bridge linking Grand Isle to the mainland.[3] A news report published less than two days after the hurricane hit falsely noted, however, that the area had been completely destroyed, reporting a scenario similar to that which befell Last Island in 1856.

Less than a month later, Grand Isle was further affected by Hurricane Rita. By mid October, a number of businesses were again open on the island.

Hurricane Gustav reached shore west of the island on September 1, 2008, at 9 am CDT, and hit it with a measured wind speed of 105 mph (169 km/h). It might be the only place in Louisiana hit when the storm was still classified as major hurricane. While both storms' eyes passed the island at similar distances, Katrina's eastern passing caused greatest damage on the bay side of island. The Gustav surge that swashed over the island damaged less than Katrina's. This was partly due to the most vulnerable structures having been destroyed by Katrina. Current construction codes prevented the rebuilding of such vulnerable structures. Barataria pass water levels peaked at 5' above recent high tide. Homes along Route 1 had ~2' of water below them. Large sections of levee/dunes were washed onto Highway 1.

Hurricane Ike passed far south of the island on September 11, 2008 while crews worked to restore power and repair the levee/dune damage caused by Gustav. Some sections of Route 1 west of the island were covered by 1' of water. Wind gusts reached 50 mph (80 km/h) and Barataria pass water levels reached 3' above recent high tide while Ike was ~200 miles away.

On September 20, 2009, the Caminada Bridge (The original bridge to Grand Isle, now used mainly for fishing) caught fire on the Grand Isle side. It's speculated that this was an electrical fire from an arcing light.

Geography

Grand Isle is located at 29°13′40″N 90°0′44″W / 29.22778°N 90.01222°W / 29.22778; -90.01222 (29.227769, -90.012115)[4].

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town covered a total area of 7.8 square miles (20.1 km²), where 6.1 square miles (15.9 km²) of it is land, and 4.2 km² (1.6 sq mi or 20.88%) of it is water.

Demographics

As of the census[5] of 2000, there were 1,541 people, 622 households, and 436 families residing in the town. The population density was 251.1 people per square mile (96.9/km²). There were 1,875 housing units at an average density of 305.6/sq mi (117.9/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 96.04% White, 2.27% Native American, 0.19% African American, 0.19% Asian, 0.39% from other races, and 0.91% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.49% of the population.

There were 622 households out of which 29.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.2% were married couples living together, 8.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.9% were non-families. 24.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.46 and the average family size was 2.89.

In the town the population was spread out with 23.7% under the age of 18, 7.9% from 18 to 24, 26.3% from 25 to 44, 28.9% from 45 to 64, and 13.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 104.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 108.1 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $33,548, and the median income for a family was $35,517. Males had a median income of $34,000 versus $19,333 for females. The per capita income for the town was $18,330. About 9.1% of families and 13.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.3% of those under age 18 and 12.9% of those age 65 or over.

Education

Grand Isle, like all locations in Jefferson Parish, is served by the Jefferson Parish Public Schools.

The Grand Isle School, a K-12 school, is located on Grand Isle.

Arts and culture

  • In 1928 the annual Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo, a fishing tournament, was established on the island.

Grand Isle State Park, on the east end of the island, is the only state-owned and operated beach on the Louisiana Gulf Coast, a beach frequented by people from the Greater New Orleans area.

The island is home to the Grand Isle Coast Guard Station, which is located on the eastern end of the island.

Media

  • Grand Isle is the setting for The Awakening by Kate Chopin. Chopin spent her summers in Grand Isle for over a decade.
  • The second episode of Route 66 (TV series) was filmed here. The plot involved the local shrimp fishing community imperiled by an approaching hurricane.

References

External links

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