Future of remote Louisiana community uncertain after mass devastation from Hurricane Ida

Future of remote Louisiana community uncertain after mass devastation from Hurricane Ida

With nearly every home and business damaged during Hurricane Ida, people who live on Grand Isle now have to decide if they’ll rebuild or leave the island.

GRAND ISLE, La. – People who live on Grand Isle in Louisiana are slowly returning to the area to survey the damage from Hurricane Ida. 

The storm made landfall Aug. 29 near Port Fourchon — about 10 miles southwest of the state’s last inhabited barrier island — with winds up to 150 mph. 

Nearly two weeks later, the damage is still immense. Homes — which locals refer to as “camps” — and businesses are ripped apart, and in some cases, just stilts remain. 

Just the stilts of a home remain after Hurricane Ida made landfall 10 miles from Grand Isle. 

“There’s a big difference here since the last time I saw it,” Brennan Young said. “It’s a lot to take in.” 

Young’s grandfather lives on Grand Isle and she visits often. The family returned to see his house, which is still intact. 

“That’s the one thing we were really worried about,” Young said. “If he lost his camp, he wasn’t sure if he was going to rebuild. We’re grateful for what we have. This is my favorite place in the world.” 

Brennan Young’s grandfather’s camp made it through Hurricane Ida. 

Grand Isle is home to about 1,400 people. Census data reveals nearly 100 decided to leave after Katrina. 

“I think after this it will be more; I really do,” Jim King said. “People just don’t have the money right now. They don’t have the money to pay for stuff like this.” 

Jim King, a 16-year resident on the island, was one of the few who stayed during Ida. His house is also one of the few that held up. 

“I wasn’t surprised, but I was grateful it did,” King said. “When I built this house, I tried to build it above the codes they called for.” 

Jim King rode out Hurricane Ida in his home on Grand Isle. It sustained only minor damage. 

However, while King’s house is still standing, it will likely be weeks before he has electricity or running water. 

“I’m staying, I don’t have no choice,” King said. “This is all I got and there are other people out here who are the same way.” 

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