Fishing folks, and all who make it their business to serve those fishing folks, breathed a deep sigh of relief Tuesday after assessing what Barry the Bluster left in its wake on the west side of the Mississippi River.
From Grand Isle west beyond Cocodrie to the Falgout Canal area near Theriot, the issue was more of “what happened,” than sweating through what usually is major clean-up and repair work after a hurricane sweeps through their camps and marinas.
“We were blessed, thank God,” Connie Scheer said from behind the counter at Sportsman’s Paradise, the stopping off restaurant and launch along Petit Caillou Bayou on the way to Cocodrie.
“It was almost like Moses parted the Red Sea,” she said. “When we were leaving (Saturday), the wind was howling and the water (in the bayou) started going down. It went down three feet and the shrimp boat at the dock was sitting on the bottom. You could see oyster reefs, and we don’t see the bayou that low even in the winter.”
Scheer said her son, “Cooter,” coordinated an effort to remove food from the restaurant freezers, carried it up to their home freezers in Houma and saved most of it with generator power.
Her words, “We’re up and running,” were echoed in most other spots between Grand Isle and Bayou Dularge.
Other than an inundating, but short-lived, tidal surge in Cocodrie, most of these coastal areas sustained little or no flood damage.
“We didn’t get water on the road,” Laid Back Charters boss Frank Dreher said after checking out his digs on Grand Isle.
Bridge Side Marina, on the island’s west side, was in full operation Tuesday morning with fuel, ice and live bait — almost as if Barry’s three days was nothing more than an extended thunderstorm.
“There were winds here,” Dreher said. “A neighbor across the street had some metal blown off a storage building and there was a palm tree down on the road (La. 1), but there was no sand on the road and everything here is wide open and ready to go.”
Dreher said the island’s protective Gulf-side berm appeared to have little damage, and the newly installed rocks on the west end, a spot on the nine-mile long barrier island usually hard by storms “came through pretty well.”
“There was some water standing on the bay side, but that usually happens when we have a full moon and get high tides, but all that appears to be gone not,” he said.
Up La. 1, at Moran’s Marina on Fourchon Road after storm surge water covering the road late Saturday was done, owner Chris Moran was running a charter trip Tuesday all the while knowing the store/restaurant/launch/bait shop was “operating as normal.”
West, across Timbalier and Terrebonne bays and Lakes Pelto and Barre, Camp Matens was back at his camp off Bayou Dularge. He said there was very little water anywhere in his area until Monday’s rains.
“There’s a levee being built west of Falgout Canal Road, and it appears water overtopped the levee in that one place. Otherwise, the levees kept the water out,” Matens said. “By Monday, trucks were passing the camp all day.
“(La.) Highway 315 never closed and there were several passable roads,” he said.
Matens said the weather monitor at the old camp on Sister Lake showed a surge of nine feet and “one small peak of wind at 60 miles and hour.
“We know of one camp at Grand Pass that lost part of a roof, and there is a tree down at a camp, but not much damage in the Bayou Dularge area,” he said.
“What happened Monday was backyards flooded here, but that was coming from the rainwater pushing from the north. There was no water Sunday, and it appears the levees and the sunken barges worked, and we’re elated about that.”
Wildlife and Fisheries has reopened the island off La. 1 near Grand Isle. The LDWF closed the area to visitors late Thursday.
St. Aug rodeo
The folks at St. Augustine High in New Orleans rescheduled their Bradley Frederick Memorial Fishing Rodeo for Saturday after Barry interfered with plans to hold it last Saturday. It’s set for 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Hopedale Marina with Trout, Redfish, Sheepshead and Drum categories to benefits the school’s athletics department. Call Chimene Grant Saloy at (504) 495-3011 for more info.