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Grand Isle receiving $122 million to aid in Ida recovery

Published: Jun. 6, 2022 at 4:03 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 6, 2022 at 5:00 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Grand Isle is getting a major infusion of cash to try and solve some big problems on an island battered severely by Hurricane Ida 10 months ago.

As we begin a new hurricane season, some worry help won’t come quickly enough.

Rob and Jodi Mills are rebuilding their grand isle home in a neighborhood far different from what it was this time last year.

“The neighbors aren’t there. Their houses are gone... a little survivor’s guilt,” said Jodi.

The Mills have repaired most of their home and are slowly working on the flood-prone downstairs.

“Until we get our levee fixed, we don’t feel it’s prudent to rebuild totally down here,” said Rob.

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Levee and rock jetty repairs begin in August, thanks to an unprecedented commitment from the Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE).

“We have gone and done work there before but never to the tune of $122 million,” said ACOE’s Nick Sims.

Grand Isle’s mayor says the repairs are badly needed. He says the Cheniere Caminada side of the island was badly battered and he’s won approval from the state for an additional $6 million worth of rocks on the north side of the Caminada Pass.

“I wish they had started a long time ago but you could see what just passed by going to Florida,” said Mayor David Camardelle.

Grand Isle Mayor David Camardelle
Grand Isle Mayor David Camardelle(WVUE)

As the Mills rebuild, they know that the risk of hurricanes is all too real and they’re building their home back in a way that’s more resilient than before.

“Just by buying this 22-foot car hauler, next hurricane we’ll just put everything in putting our freezer,” said Mills.

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Mayor Camardelle says about 2,700 island homes were damaged or destroyed and about half of them are back, and the island is open for business.

“You can see the trailers coming in. We’re catching specs. You can’t do that in Destin,” said Camardelle.

Camardelle welcomes the $122 million commitment from the ACOE but wonders if the improvements will come soon enough.

The corps says they will start repairing 12 washout areas in Grand Isle’s dunes beginning in August. They will also be repairing rock jetties and replacing clay in some of the berms which protect the island. The three phases of the project are expected to be wrapped up by July 2024.

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