Hurricane Ida’s wrath on the small communities along Louisiana’s southeast coast where it landed just before noon Sunday with 150 mph winds is like something from an apocalyptic Hollywood movie. While it’s just short of morbid to gawk at the property damage the storm did, we can’t help ourselves. The power of Mother Nature at her most vindictive is breathtaking, indeed.
What you can see a little of in that video, though the drone didn’t spend a lot of time passing over the structures that survived the storm without a great deal of damage, is that the newer fishing camps on Grand Isle which were built to the post-Katrina code didn’t fare too badly.
But the old ones? In many cases, there’s nothing left but the stilts they were built on.
It’s going to be expensive to have a camp at Grand Isle going forward. We’ve heard estimates of upwards of $350,000 for construction costs of fishing camps there from now on to meet the building codes they’re going to have.
What that’s going to mean is a lot of those camps will be built for commercial purposes. At prices like that, the thing to do isn’t to build a camp, it’s to rent one through AirBnB when you want to head down there. So people will invest in a fishing camp they can pull $250 a night from on the weekends, and the same principle will drive Grand Isle that drove those investors from up north to spend $400,000 on a shotgun house in Treme in New Orleans.
That might result in Grand Isle having a bit more “upscale” look. But it’s going to lose its “family fishing camp” feel. That probably can’t be helped.
Next door to Grand Isle, Port Fourchon took the most direct hit from the storm. Here’s the damage in Fourchon…
As you can see, even the newer fishing camps in Port Fourchon got blown up, though it looks like some of them can be repaired without being total losses. The industrial facilities and oilfield service stations, and those crewboats which weren’t evacuated, look like they may have fared better than expected.
But still, what a mess.
Then there’s Leeville, north of Port Fourchon and connected to what somewhat serves as the “mainland” such as it is down there. It’s much the same story…
It’s really amazing how much stuff was just laid flat or disintegrated in those winds. But as we now know beyond a doubt, this is what happens when a Category 4 storm doesn’t just show up but decides to linger. Those winds will systematically take apart a building. And of course, when you add the storm surge to carry away what the wind tears apart, you end up with cleared lots where fishing camps used to be.
The recovery is going to take a while, and those communities won’t look the same when it’s over.