Grand Isle survived Hurricane Barry with just some minor bumps and bruises.
But thanks to some state funding, the island may soon be better equipped to take a hurricane's punch in the future.
Gov. John Bel Edwards announced that the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) has signed a partnership agreement with the Grand Isle Independent Levee District to close a large gap in the protective breakwater alignment on the bayside of Grand Isle.
The estimated $6.5 million project will be fully-funded by the CPRA. The Levee District will manage the construction of segmented breakwaters, closing a one-mile gap in protection infrastructure along the island and, when complete, making the island safer in storm events and less susceptible to erosion.
"This agreement between the Grand Isle Independent Levee District and CPRA is yet another example of the state's commitment to investing in our coast and protecting our people," Gov. Edwards said. "Nowhere along our coast is more exposed than Grand Isle, and we must do everything in our power to protect this special place so that future generations can enjoy its culture and beauty."
CPRA Board Chairman Chip Kline and David Camardelle signed the Intergovernmental Agreement in Baton Rouge days after the passage of Hurricane Barry. Camardelle is Mayor of Grand Isle and President of the Grand Isle Independent Levee District.
“There is no place along our coast that is more vulnerable to storm surge than Grand Isle,” said Kline. “This investment agreement that we signed is part of our continued commitment to the protection of the residents of our only inhabited barrier island.”
The Levee District will construct an access channel and lay down about 28,651 square yards of geotextile fabric on the bayside water bottom as the base for 62,426 tons of rock riprap that will form 17 breakwater structures, each one measuring 350 feet in length.
An additional segment will be placed adjacent to the La. Highway 1 Bridge at the entrance to Grand Isle.
Camardelle expects construction to begin in September.
“We thank CPRA for helping us move this much-needed project forward,” said Camardelle. “These breakwaters will complete the existing chain of bayside breakwaters that provide protection to the backside of the island and enhance our coastal habitat.”
CPRA Executive Director Bren Haase said the state recognizes the importance of Grand Isle and the entire vicinity, pointing out nearly $400 million in projects completed, in progress, or soon to come.
“We’ve built rock breakwaters on Fifi Island, and construction should start soon on the rock breakwaters on the Gulf side of Grand Isle. Great improvements are coming to Grand Isle State Park. In the surrounding area, we’ve reconstructed the beaches and dunes on Caminada and Elmer’s Island, and will soon be restoring the marsh behind Elmer’s Island. And there’s more to come, including important projects to restore Queen Bess Island and West Grand Terre.”