GRAND ISLE, La. -- In the fight to save Louisiana’s coast, Grand Isle and the other barrier islands are the last line of defense against approaching storms, and yet it has been on ongoing fight with the corps of engineers to shore up the levees.
“They don't live here, they don't listen, they don't act, and they really say they learn their lessons, but they don't,” said Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La. “They take notes after every storm.”
Landrieu is visibly fed up with the corps' reliance on cost analysis – in other words, is it worth a lot of money to shore up an island where so few people live?
“This is not hard to figure out. I don't know what math they're using,” Landrieu said, “but no person with a brain would just use the economic analysis of the people living on the island.”
Landrieu and other local officials say there's much more at stake than Grand Isle. They say as Grand Isle goes, so go Orleans, Jefferson, Lafourche and Terrebone parishes.
“We're like a soldier in Iraq. We're on the front line,” said Mayor David Camardelle. “If we don't start protecting the barrier islands, guess what? Get ready Bourbon Street, get ready New Orleans. The water's coming to you.”
It's clear the politicians are frustrated, but they also say they're motivated. With three months to go before the end of hurricane season, Landrieu says it's time to throw out cost analysis and press the corps, the White House and Congress to shore up the barrier islands before it's too late.