grandisle5So are the beaches of Grand Isle open or closed? The answer apparently depends on your interpretation of the words “beach” and “open.”

Tamara Augustine, park manager of Grand Isle State Park, and the park’s website say the beach there is closed. 

But Josie Cheramie, Grand Isle’s tourist commissioner, and the message on the phone at the Grand Isle Tourism Office, say the island’s beaches are open.

The beaches may be technically “open” but visitors shouldn’t expect to get in the water.

Visitors can go on the sand but they must stop at the “tiger boom,” which has been placed in an attempt to keep the oil from washing up on the beach, Grand Isle Councilmember Leoda Bladsacker, said.

“The beach is closed from the tiger boom to the water,” she said. “You can’t get in the water but the rest of it’s open. There’s probably 100 to 200 feet you can play with.”

No Swimming Here

Workers are constructing a fence to keep visitors away from the water and the cleanup area, Wayne Keller, executive director of the Grand Isle Port Commission, said. The tiger boom had served as the boundary, but people were crossing over it, Keller said.

“You can’t swim (here),” Bladsacker said. “We’re not lucky like the people in Alabama and Florida. They get to go and swim with the oil. We can’t,” she added with a laugh.

Read more on Grand Isle fishing and tourism.

Kathie Immormino Sutin is a freelance writer based in St. Louis, Mo. She writes about travel, health, food, business, construction and people.