March 6, 2013

Grand Isle, Louisiana (The other end of the Mississippi: Part 2)

After finishing the day off with beignets at Cafe Du Monde in The French Quarter, we left New Orleans & headed back to Grand Isle, where we spent a couple of leisurely, sunny days. 
Grand Isle is a barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico, world-famous for it's fishing.  (We would have liked to do some fishing, but were there at a time of year when there is a lull in the action.)  
Home to about 1,500 locals, it's a very quiet little town.  There is a post office, a gas station, a marina, and a small grocery store.  The only chain establishment to my knowledge, was a Subway.
We were there in February of 2011, following the devastating Deepwater Horizon (BP) oil spill of 2010, which made things even quieter.  Very vacant. 

Grand Isle has been repeatedly pummeled by hurricanes and tropical storms through its history.
Because of this, all the houses & structures on the island are built on stilts.  Even the post office, the K-12 school building, and the gas station are on stilts.  The colorful homes & fish camps were fun to observe, many of them displaying interesting names. 
The concrete dwelling at the lower right looked particularly indestructible to 100 m.p.h. hurricane winds. The mobile home on stilts?  Not so sure.

of our time on the island was spent at Grand Isle State Park, which had recently been reopened to the public.
The majority of Louisiana's coastline is marsh & swamp.  I read somewhere that the seven mile spit of Grand Isle is Louisiana's only sand beach. 
We had it almost entirely to ourselves.

Traces of the oil spill & clean up effort were subtle, but present.
There were "tarballs" in most handfuls of shells we scooped up.

We enjoyed gathering shells, and came across this nice looking green lizard.

And a jackpot of many of his friends underneath a shelter.

The pier was great for watching dolphins splashing in the Gulf.

It took a while, but I captured one jumping out of water. 
They'd jump right under our noses & everywhere, but they were impossible to predict & hard to catch.  This image was triumph for me.

Note: One can become obsessed with trying to capture dolphins as they surface, and become quite sunburned in the meantime.
Brown pelicans, Louisiana's state bird:

The park contained some nature trails and a lagoon. 
As we set into a grassy / shrub surrounded trail, there was a rustling that sounded like there was a gator or something large moving in the grass.. so we stopped.  It was just the rustling of tiny crabs scurrying away from our feet by the hundreds of thousands.  (The gators were dormant during our visit to Louisiana.)

Grand Isle is a very interesting place.  Not stunning in scenery, but very unique in it's geography & very peaceful & quiet while we were there.  Lodging on stilts and being secluded from commercial development, we very much felt like we were "someplace else." 

Last to come will be the final leg of our Louisiana adventure.. The River Road plantations, and our stay at one of the largest antebellum mansions in the south.


  1. Great captures and experience. My wife and I are looking into spending time south next winter. We share a desire to escape the cold even if only for a short time.

    Thank you for visiting my blog.

  2. The whole of Louisiana made us feel like we were "someplace else." (I've described it as feeling as if we were in another country.) We loved it! And also liked places like this better than Nawlins ;>)!

    I love a quiet beach, but hate the reason why this one was quiet.

  3. Your photos are beautiful. You have such an eye for capturing beauty that might otherwise go unnoticed, like the ripples on the beach and the feather in the sand. Lovely.

    I hope you have a wonderful week!

  4. Quiet, no crowds, sand beach, State Park for hiking and catching a hard to photograph dolphin in the air. All good, Amanda...:)

  5. I love that pelican photo! What a beautiful place.

  6. What a wonderful excursion into Louisiana's Grand Isle!!! Could be a new travel destination!!!

  7. Looks like a great place - hard to believe its the same region as was made infamous by the oil spill. I know what you mean about getting too caught up in trying to get a jumping dolphin shot!


    Stewart M - Melbourne

  8. What fabulous shots of this lovely place. It's all so scenic!

  9. I've never made it to Grand Isle, but would like to get there some day, preferably in the off-season as you did. I have been to Galveston and have seen similar structures on stilts. I'm impressed that you were able to capture a dolphin.

  10. My goodness, what an array of watery scenes! Looks like so much fun & very beautiful

    Thank you for you comment on my Big Spring Watery Wednesday post & thank you for joining =)

  11. These photos make me look forward to walking barefoot on a sandy beach. It's so pretty there!

  12. Your snow pictures were so much fun, but this is where I want to be ... wonderful shots!