Everyone held their collective breath as Tropical Storm Isaac approached the Southeast Louisiana coast, watching the weather system slow to a crawl and seem to refuse to take the last step to becoming a hurricane.

But just before swiping Venice and passing over Grand Isle, the storm officially became Hurricane Isaac — and proceeded to deliver the coast a walloping belying it's 80-mph winds.

And that has left much of the coastline off limits.

"Right now the island is shut down," said Buggy Vegas of Grand Isle's Bridge Side Marian this afternoon (Aug. 30).  "They might start letting residents and camp owners in tomorrow. Maybe by Saturday they'll open the island up (to anglers).

"But the power may not be there: Everybody is running on generators."

Scott Walker (aka nightfisher on the forum), who works with Sweetwater Marina said the entire Delacroix/Shell Beach/Hopedale area is blocked.

"No one is being allowed in there," Walker said.

Vegas said Grand Isle actually fared pretty well compared to Plaquemines Parish (Louisiana Sportsman is working to gather information for another story on that area), even though water did cover the entire island as Isaac approached.

"When the wind came from the north, (water) covered the whole island," said Vegas, who rode out the storm at his condo near the marina. "It was not nearly as bad as Katrina."

That water drained quickly when the winds switched out of the south, and the levee erected along the southern edge of the island protected the area — well, most of the area — from more water damage.

"The damaged levee behind my marina broke, and sand and water poured in," Vegas said.

Bridge Side Marina only lost the pier with the cleaning station and one other pier, but it is in good shape otherwise, Vegas said.

Walker said this afternoon that any damage to Sweetwater Marina was unknown because access was still cut off, but it was assumed that storm surge has made a real mess.

"With the east wind, I'd imagine they got a lot of water down there," he said. "Jack (Payne, Sweetwater Marina owner) said he figured there would be a lot of mud. His boat sheds are probably gone."

He said the severity of the storm surge could be seen from the Bonnet Carre bridge near LaPlace, where water had been pushed through the Rigolets across the vast Lake Pontchartrain and into the spillway.

"It looked like they opened the (Bonnet Carre) floodgates," Walker said of the photos he took today.

He said it was likely there was similar damage at Shell Beach and Hopedale.

"I also have a camp at Point aux Chenes that I have to get into," Walker said. "That's right where the eye passed, so I don't know what I'll find."

Walker said he believed it would be several days, at least, until the east side of the Mississippi is opened for any access.

"Right now, it may be longer than this weekend," he said. "It's pretty bad right now; you've still got an east-southeast wind blowing.

"It probably won't be until Monday or Tuesday, at the earliest."

Help document the passing of Hurricane Isaac by posting your observations, photos and videos on the forum's Official Hurricane Isaac thread

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