Stacy Kranitz: The Island

Added on by Sarah Martin.

Isle de Jean Charles is disappearing into the Gulf of Mexico. Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw Indians first bought land here in 1876. The land is a fourth the size it was when its oldest residents were children. Less than sixty water-damaged houses remain on the island. More than half of them are empty. The road that leads to the Island disappears underwater during storms.

The Levees built by the Army Corp of Engineers in the 1960’s, along the Mississippi River disrupted the marshland and allowed it to be eaten away by the Gulf’s saltwater. A new levee, under construction to protect the towns along the coast from storm surge, will skip the Island. Its residents have been abandoned by the state of Louisiana. Oil pipelines began cutting up the land in the early 1900’s. The Gulf Oil spill coated the islands vegetation with crude oil and chemical dispersants; killing off what is holding the island together and further accelerating erosion.

Both the US government and multinational corporations have posed constant threats to the island through a series of decisions that reflect a callous oblivion toward its existence.