NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Grand Isle residents are having to dodge power lines and deal with no electricity as they return to survey damage from Hurricane Zeta. A portion of the burrito levee was badly damaged but the main part held.
Zeta battered Grand Isle with winds estimated at around 100 miles an hour and a storm surge of around 10 feet but residents are glad it was a fast mover.
Dozens of properties suffered roof damage but most built to modern hurricane standards fared well.
Zeta badly damaged much of the island infrastructure. The top 7 feet of the burrito Levee was washed away and is now in neighboring yards.
“5 feet of water came over this Levee in some places 8 to 10 feet,” said Mayor David Camardelle.
Though sand from the old levee washed across a portion of Grand Isle the burrito portion held in large part because it’s filled with compacted clay.
“Black fabric when the sun hits it, the clay gets hard. That protected us,” Camardelle said.
Now that hurricane season will hopefully be ending soon, Camardelle says a beach replenishment project is about to begin, but he insists rock armoring will be vital to long-term protection.
While some critics question spending millions on levee protection, islanders agree that it’s important, not just for Grand Isle but for the region which benefits from an island that acts as a storm buffer.
“If they can’t fix Grand Isle they can’t fix anything,” said resident Sidney Robert.
And Grand Isle officials say more levee help is on the way. Utility workers are working to restore power to Grand Isle, but it could remain out for several more days.
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