Plaquemines shrimpers still struggling after Isaac - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Plaquemines shrimpers still struggling after Isaac

Plaquemines Parish, La. -

Shrimpers along several Plaquemines Parish canals say, ever since Hurricane Isaac, they can't make a living.  The canals that bring them to their shrimping grounds are choked with tons of mud and grass washed in from the storm, and they need help.

For two months now, Grant Gaudet's income has been shut down. He says, " I've got three boats, and none of them can go back to work."

He's lucky he's got a boat; many weren't so fortunate.

Shrimpers say Isaac brought in more water in the Myrtle Grove area than Katrina did.  And the 10-foot storm surge pushed in more marsh grass than any storm in memory.

Much of the marsh, vital storm protection, now clogs waterways such as Deer Range Canal near Myrtle Grove.  You can see the grass breaking the surface, attached to massive chunks of mud -- some are the size of pickup trucks.

The mud and grass washed in from Isaac two months ago and choked canals such as Deer Range to a depth of two to three feet. That's too shallow for shrimpers to get their boats out to their shrimping grounds.

"This is the first time in history that debris came in like this. There used be cheniers that caught all this," said shrimper Troy Pellegrin.

After two months of no income, Gaudet says, "If I thought I could have started another career, I would have tried."

He says he won't shrimp like his father and grandfather before him. "I've been fishing with my dad my entire life, and I was going to bring in my son, but I'm not going to bring him into a business that I don't see a future in."

For these shrimpers, hard times are nothing new. First was Katrina, then BP -- and now Isaac has cut off their shrimping grounds and they say no one's come to help.

Parish leaders say the worksheets have been sent to Washington for FEMA approval to clear the shrimpers waterways.

"We feel confident that if we can get these things approved we can start working next week,"said Billy Nungesser.

The shrimpers don't want a handout. They just want to get back to work. But truth be told, they need immediate relief.

It's a rough life that shrimpers say gets rougher each year as stronger storms, roll in, tearing up acres of wetlands.  And with so much marshland now clogging their canals, these shrimpers believe the next one will be even worse.

Some believe BP oil, or dispersant may have contributed to the massive amounts of wetlands that crumbled like never before. There's no proof of that at this point, but it's a theory that parish officials say they are now investigating.

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