Grand Isle takes forefront of Gulf oil spill

Lyle Johnson
The Grand Isle Bridge pictured the morning after the great blaze

As we watch the news about the oil spill in the Gulf, the beach at Grand Isle is usually where the story starts up. Governor Jindal is in the picture quite a lot, lots of tar balls are usually in the shots as well and plenty of oil-soaked birds are making the stories too.

Although way too much of our state’s coastline has been affected by leaking oil, Grand Isle always seems to be in the forefront. I’m thinking, “How much more can they take.” They have experienced more than their share of tragedies over their short time in history.

Recorded history of “tropical” history for the island goes back to 1860 when a hurricane of no name wreaked total destruction of Grand Isle. It was the third hurricane that hit Louisiana in just seven weeks.

October 1-2nd, 1893: An unheralded storm of great violence moved from the Gulf across the southeastern U.S. It devastated about 500 miles of the coastline from Timbalier Bay to Pensacola.  Winds of 100 M.P.H. were estimated at Grand Isle and at Pointe a la Hache. A gigantic wave then crashed upon the shore of the north end of Grand Isle, destroying everything in its path.

Two thousand people died, 779 from Cheniere Caminanda.  One of the survivors was rescued in a makeshift raft off South Pass 8 days later, almost 100 miles from where he began in Cheniere Caminanda.

Grand Isle has been hit by tropical systems within 60 miles fifty four times in 139 years, the last one in 2009 by Ida that brushed the island with sixty mile per hour winds. The stats get worse. It gets brushed or hit every 2.57 years and directly hit by a hurricane every 7.32 years within forty miles. After rebuilding both sides of the fishing bridge three years ago, the south side caught on fire and the new portion burned into the water.

But I don’t know if anywhere else in the world that folks reside that are hardier than those that live on that seven mile stretch of land in the northern Gulf of Mexico. I know of their resolve to get things done. Those nearly 2,000 folks that populate the island have managed to rebuild after every storm that’s come their way and they’ll do it this time as well. Please keep all the folks impacted by the latest “issue” on our coast but especially Mayor David Camardelle and his folks on the island.

The East Ascension Sportsman’s League will be holding its annual Sporting Clays Scramble on June 19 at Hunter’s Run Gun Club in Port Allen. The event is one of their larger fund raising events that help pay for the upcoming Kids Rodeo along with other events on our yearly calendar.

The East Ascension Sportsman’s League is one of the oldest and still effective conservation groups in our state, so I’d like to invite you to attend this really fun event.

I didn’t really understand what sporting clays was all about until I attended one at Lamar-Dixon a few years ago for a Boy Scout event. I was pleasantly surprised that it was much more that just shooting a few clay targets zooming by.

Not to be confused with skeet shooting, sporting clays offers a very challenging clay target contest designed around wingshooting in many different shot opportunities. The variety of targets simulate the flight path of game birds such as flushing a bird up, crossing shots, incoming birds along with other angling shots. Heck, you even get to shoot at some rabbits scurrying across your path.

Along with the shooting comes some well natured ribbing as well. I’m a below average shooter so a lot of kidding comes my way. The camaraderie is a bonus but it doesn’t stop there. A great meal will be served while the numbers are tallied.

The “Scramble” format will be used once again because of the popularity amongst the contestants. It mixes all shooters on random teams by drawing names. This ensures that all entrants have a chance to be on a winning team. Scores will also be tallied up for the individuals on registered teams to compile winners in those categories.

The cost of the event is $70 for a single shooter, $250 for a corporate team and a business could by advertisement at a shooting station for $100. Your entry fee will allow you 100 targets to attempt to hit with your shells that can be no larger that 7 ½ shot. First, second and third place trophies will be awarded in Scramble Teams, Corporate Teams and Individual high scores as well. All information can be obtained by calling Barney Callahan at 225-445-6870.

This would be a great way to spend a morning honing up your shooting skills and just have an old fashioned, good time with some other folks and make new friends. This would also make a great Father’s Day gift if he likes to shoot or hunt! You will also be supporting a great organization and a worthy cause as well.

Remember to keep the slack out and set the hook hard.

So until next time have fun in the outdoors, be safe and may God truly bless you.