GRANDISLE, La. -- A united front gathered on Grand Isle's sand levee on Sunday morning to pray for an end to an oil spill that has upended their lives.

'We are a community,' said Denise Esponge, as she looked out at the Gulf of Mexico. 'We do live on this island and we want our island back.'

'Holding On To Our Cajun Coast...' is selling paraphernalia with their logo on it as a fundraiser to buy school supplies for the children at Grand Isle's school. You can find their site at

More than 50 people came together for 'Holding on to our Cajun Coast... with Hearts and Hands.' The gathering was designed to help people reflect on just how much the community has lost since the oil spill began nearly three months ago.

'If you look out at the beach and you see this ugly orange boom-- which is beautiful compared to the oil that's washing up-- I mean, it's hard,' said Bobbi Harrison, who helped organize the event. 'A lot of families are losing their way to support their family.'

They aren't the only families suffering, though, and it was something the group acknowledged. The sound of a bell pierced the air 11 times -- 11 times for the 11 lives lost when the Deepwater Horizon Rig exploded in April.

'Those families, they may not be losing a way of life, but they lost their loved ones,' Harrison said. 'And they were 11 human beings that their families don't have their fathers or sons or loved ones. I'm sure it's hard for them to go on and they hear things on the news all the time about the wildlife and the beach and what this one's doing and that one's doing.'

Following their reflections, the group took rocks and seashells with wishes written on them and threw them towards the beach, as part of a therapeutic outlet for the town's anguish.

'This is our wishes and our prayers -- the things that we miss,' Esponge said. 'We want our beach back, we want our island back, we want to be able to fish. We want to be able to build sandcastles on the beach. You know, we want to just have our lives back as usual.'

Most of the wishes that people wrote on the shells were very simple: one said, 'seeing boats,' and another had written on it, 'dog chasing birds.'

'Everybody knows the oil is here, but they don't realize just how severe it actually is for this particular community, because it's only a seven mile island,' said resident Kristy Campbell.

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