New Orleanians swim cautiously at Seabrook

New Orleanians swim cautiously at Seabrook

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - In spite of the hazards, dozens of New Orleanians took to the lake on the Fourth of July to cool off.

Many said they are taking steps to minimize the effects of bacteria

At Seabrook Beach, people waded into the water.

Antoinette Hart said she was keeping her niece and nephew close.

"If I can't stand in it, we're not going to that point," Hart said.

Though the health department said warning signs have gone up in other parts of the state, there are none here telling swimmers of the danger posed by flesh-eating bacteria.

"The people who get into problems with Vibrio are diabetics, liver disease, hemo chromatosis, HIV and people on hypertensive medications," said former New Orleans health director Dr. Brobson Lutz.

The parents we spoke with said in spite of the warnings, they will enjoy that water and take precautions.

"I plan on doing that. As soon as we get home, I have anti-bacteria soap, we will wash them off as soon as we get home," said Hart.

Health experts say while it's wise to avoid areas with high bacterial counts, Vibrio vulnificus is a constant presence in local saltwater, and they say generally healthy people are okay.

"I would really advise no one not to go into the water. If you go where the bacteria are down, there's some advantage to that," said Lutz.

The lure of the water too hard to resist this Fourth of July at Seabrook.

"It's a  blast from the past," Hart said. "We came here when we were younger."

The Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation wants to create a beach for swimmers along the lakefront, but it hasn't said suggested how long it will take to transform the proposed site north of UNO's research and technology park. It recently shipped a small mountain of new sand to that area for development of a swimming beach.

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