Grand Isle State Park reopens nearly 2 years after Hurricane Ida

Published 2:18 am Sunday, June 4, 2023

Grand Isle State Park has reopened, nearly two years after Hurricane Ida raked the barrier island and destroyed much of its infrastructure.

“This is a big step in our recovery and just in time for locals and visitors to enjoy for the summer,” Grand Isle Mayor David Camardelle said in a statement. “The state park plays a major role in our local economy as an RV park and campground for those visiting the state park and island. We are thrilled to have it back.”

The park’s beach, recreational vehicle pads and tent campsites reopened Thursday. The Gulf fishing pier and one of the two bathhouses, however, remain closed for repairs, The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate reported.

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Ida, a Category 4 storm that ranks sixth among the most destructive hurricanes in U.S. history, came ashore west of Grand Isle on Aug. 29, 2021, with maximum sustained winds of 150 mph. Almost all of Grand Isle’s 2,500 structures were damaged, and 700 homes were destroyed.

The main reason it took 21 months to reopen the park for recreation is that it was used for emergency housing for Ida victims, said Brandon Burris, assistant secretary of the Louisiana Department of Culture, Tourism and Recreation.

Some Grand Isle residents whose homes were damaged camped there or lived in Federal Emergency Management Agency trailers parked there.

“We’ve had people living there since very shortly after the storm cleared,” Burris told the newspaper Friday.

The park’s gates are open 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Admission costs $3 per person; it’s free for those younger than 4 and older than 61.