"This is it. It is over. Summer is lost. Those were Fred Marshall's thoughts as he slumped behind his tiny desk at Gulfstream Marina, worry lines criss-crossing his face, redness framing his weary blue-green eyes in this picturesque beach town.
When BP's oil started flowing into the Gulf of Mexico in April, beachgoers and money stopped flowing into town. By the time the company managed to cap the deep-water well in mid-July, the damage was done. Summer, when Grand Isle merchants earn the profits they rely on for the rest of the year, was gone, said Marshall, 48.
Grand Isle depends heavily on tourism, and its beach is a major draw in Louisiana. Residents often travel more than 100 miles to bathe there. As Labor Day weekend, the traditional end of summer, comes to a close, less than half of the seven-mile beach has been reopened by workers, who cleared away oil and tar balls. Business lifted slightly, but Marshall and other merchants were in no mood to celebrate. Louisianans turn their attention from fishing and the beach to other forms of recreation in September, namely football and hunting."
Darryl Fears reports for the Washington Post September 5, 2010.