Oil Spill Still Hurting Grand Isle Businesses


GRAND ISLE, La. – Businesses on Grand Isle are still struggling nearly seven months after the BP oil spill began.

Henry Mount owns two restaurants on Grand Isle. In June, he told WDSU anchor Scott Walker how bad things were.

“It’s just terrible, really. There’s nothing much to say except it’s a sad situation,” Mount said.

And things haven’t gotten better since. Mount said soon both restaurants will be shut down, at least until the spring.

“Putting me into the red, big time. Big time in the red,” he said.

Adding to the problems is the claims process for people who have suffered damages due to the spill. Mount isn’t a fan of claims administrator Ken Feinberg.

“Hearing him talk is like a bunch of nonsense talk, because he tells you you go there with the paperwork you need, and if you’re a business, within 48 hours you will have a check,” Mount said. “I went there with every piece of paper they needed for this restaurant and the lighthouse and I’m still waiting on a check.”

Back in June, Dodie Vegas told WDSU that she had lost 80 percent of her business at the Bridge Side Marina. Now her situation is improving.

“It doesn’t seem like it’s affected the fishing at all, just the people still don’t have a place to stay to come down,” Vega said. “They’re still cleaning it up, the oil, but I think it’s going to be OK.”

Nearly seven months later, Grand Isle beach is still far from normal. Temporary fencing lines the beach up and down, there’s heavy equipment along the beach and at various spots along the beach sand lies cleaning equipment. And people there hope that by next tourist season, things are somewhat back to normal.

“We want to be ready for the summer,” said Mayor David Camardelle. “We need our tourists back. We want to have a clean beach and want all our seafood safe … I ate some boiled shrimp last night. It was caught right here off the island.”

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Stuart H. Smith is an attorney based in New Orleans fighting major oil companies and other polluters.
Cooper Law Firm

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