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Louisiana Sportsman

Coastal regionís best hope for Isaac recovery: You!

October 01, 2012 at 7:00 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

OK, admit it: You didnít take Tropical Storm Isaac seriously. No, itís alright. I didnít either, even when when it finally churned itís way up to a Category 1 hurricane. Really, what was there to fear? Isaac certainly was no Katrina.

I even laughed and used the approach of the storm as an excuse to break my diet, stocking up on Oreos, chips and Dr. Peppers. About the only concession I made was buying 10 gallons of fuel for our generator. And a portable air-conditioning unit (hey, Iím not completely stupid).

Then, as if Isaac sensed our scoffing, the storm slowed to a crawl; made a slow, agonizing approach; and leisurely worked its way across the stateís toe ó seemingly intent on chewing Southeast Louisiana to pieces in the process.

The prolonged, torrential rainfalls caused problems, while the hours upon hours of tropical-storm winds knocked power out to half the stateís population.

But there was another wallop delivered by what we all assumed would be a trivial storm: Hurricane Isaac piled up a storm surge that absolutely swamped areas like Delacroix, Hopedale and Shell Beach.

Homes were flooded, marinas were wrecked and roadways were flooded. Lafitte and Braithwaite went under water, and lower Plaquemines Parish was once again inaccessible after a levee was breached.

But these coastal communities werenít the only areas impacted by the surge: Interstate 10 at LaPlace and Airline Highway south of Gonzales disappeared under water. In fact, as of mid September, water levels in the extreme western end of the Maurepas Swamp remained remarkably high.

Fish kills, high deer fawn mortality, fisheries that were inaccessible for a couple of weeks. Was this proof that Louisiana has lost so much of its coast that it is virtually defenseless to hurricanesí ravages? If you search the Web, you find studies claiming each 2.7 miles of marsh absorbs a foot of surge, and we certainly have far fewer miles of coastal marsh than we did a generation ago.

However, Weather Undergroundís Dr. Jeffrey Masters counters that slow-moving storms like Isaac push water over such a long period of time that there is no surge reduction, no matter how much marsh is available.

There will be debate about that issue, no doubt. But what canít be debated is that the coast needs you for the recovery. How can you help? Well, you could grab a shovel and hammer, and head to your favorite marina.

Or you can do what would provide what that marina owner really needs: Cash. In fact, every business along the coast is waiting for you to show up and spend some money to help them move forward.

So schedule a trip to one of the launches, rent a hotel room or lodge, buy some ice and drinks, maybe charter a guide.

In the words of Bobby Gros of Bobby Lynnís Marina: "That would damn sure help."

View other articles written Andy Crawford