Maya Rodriguez / EyewitnessNews
GRAND ISLE, La. -- At the Blue Dolphin Inn and Cottages on Grand Isle, business is down way down.
'Half of what I have,' said Marlene Chappell, who works at the inn. 'Generally on Easter weekend, I'm full.'
But not this year, a harsh reality felt by Grand Isle's tourism industry on the state's only inhabited barrier island, one year after the BP oil spill began.
'People are scared to bring their kids, you know, their scared of the oil, so what are you going to do?' Chappell said. 'I'm doing the best I can.'
It's a similar story for some charter fishing captains. They've had fewer bookings this year, which they trace directly back to the spill.
'It's been slow,' said Captain Keith Bergeron of Pair-A-Dice Charters. 'I mean, we've got some trips booked, but it's not like the years before. Usually, in previous years, we booked up pretty solid, May, June, July, August, by this time -- I still got a lot of open days.'
It doesn't help matters that tar balls are still coming ashore. Despite that, though, a handful of visitors dotted the beach Wednesday.
'Other than the chunks of tar, I mean, I was looking, I don't see any oil slicks in the water. I went in the water,' said Grand Isle visitor Joanna Borr. 'It's great.'
It's a message island leaders are trying to get out, that Grand Isle is open for business, despite any lingering tar balls.
'Every time the wind picks up from the southeast, you get a few tar balls. And the guys are there to clean up and we're making sure. You might have seen it in that area, but the majority of the beach is clean, you know,' said Grand Isle Mayor David Camardelle.
Still, those in the tourism industry here say the fear and perception persists that the spill may still not be over.
'It's just left up to the people to decide if they want to come,' Chappell said.