Saturday, May 11, 2013

Grand Isle

After a hectic week in New Orleans we were ready to kick back a bit so we headed to Grand Isle, the only populated barrier island in Louisiana.  When we called for a reservation Michelle was surprised to hear our name was Tidball as Lanny, her husband, had an uncle by marriage named Tidball.  We did share our family stories but I don't think we are directly related.  I have encountered a few Tidballs on our travels but none have been connected to any known relatives.  The isle reminds us a lot of  the way our favorite beach, Hatteras Island, used to be with its many small beach homes and only locally owned businesses.  A big difference here is oil industry facility to service the off shore platforms.
The drive from NOLA to Grand Isle is along canals and bayous all the way to the gulf.  There were shrimp and oil industry boats tied up along the road.
The last 20 miles is over a couple long bridges and a causeway with many big trucks on their way to an oil facility on the island.   These pictures were taken on our way out, as on the way down we drove across these in a heavy, heavy rain.
Here is a look at Grand Isle from the last bridge.  The back bay is in the foreground and the Gulf of Mexico is in the background.  You can see why almost all the buildings are raised.  They sure are very vulnerable to hurricanes.
A beautiful field of wildflowers.
Grand Isle is a great place for birding.  It is the first land migrating birds come to as they head north across the gulf.  If the weather is bad there are often bird falls where they just lie on the ground exhausted until they recover from the trip.  We did not see a fall but we saw a lot of birds.  These are a couple of egrets.  The one on the right has its yellow breeding plumage.
An egret wading on nearby Elmer's Island.  We also saw a roseate spoonbill here but did not get a picture.
A rose-breasted grosbeak.
A small tricolor heron?
A female and male Scarlett Tanager.  This is a great place to see many different birds.
You can drive the beach on Elmer's Island.   We did a bit of shelling and just enjoyed the sun and surf.
Looking out in the gulf you can see at least a dozen drilling platforms.  Shrimp was in season and the shrimpers were all along the shore 24/7.
The big downside of all these drilling platforms is some oil on the beach.  The Deepwater Horizon that exploded and burn off shore here three years ago spilled oil into the gulf for three months.  We saw oil in the sand and several dumpsters and front loaders picking up oily sand.  So when you hear those BP ads about how much money they are spending in the US remember a lot of that money is to clean up the BIG mess they created.  That said don't let that scare you away from Grand Isle as most of the visible oil is gone. 
On Saturday we did a local car show.  This Mercury has been in the same family since it was purchased new in 1948.  It was owned by Dixieland band leader Nick LaRocca and was restored by a relative in 2010. 
This beautiful Corvette had a whole Navy theme even under the hood and trunk lids and on the motor.
We love going to car shows on our travels and know that they are usually look don't touch events.  So when the owner of this beautiful 1929 Mercedes asked if we wanted to get in we jumped at the chance.  Wouldn't it be great to go tooling down the highway in this hot little car. 
I guess the all time classic car is the 57 Chevy.  This is the best one I have ever seen.  The engine was all chromed up, the interior, including the trunk, was leather and the paint job was fantastic.  Someone told us the asking price was $300,000.  I don't think they want to sell it.
On Sunday we started north planning to take five weeks to do the 1200 miles to get back to WashPA.  Our first stop was in Hammond, Louisiana where we had the annual maintenance done on the rig.  Our plan is to travel parts of the Natchez Trace and the Blues Highway in Mississippi.  We are going to stop in Tennessee to see friends we made at Betty's.  In Kentucky we want to go to Tidball's bar in Bowling Green and do the Bourbon Trail.  It's then on the see relatives in Ohio.  Of course all this is written in sand and may change as we see what there is to do along the way.


Ray/Wendy said...

Looks like a place we'd like to check out. How was the campground?
Safe travlin

Tlbcasey8 said...

As a resident of the New Orleans French Quarter, I also look forward to my weekly getaways to Grand Isle. It is so great to hear that someone was able to share in all the beauty that this little island has to share!