About Grand Isle, LA
Grand Isle, a barrier island about 7 miles long and 1 mile wide, is the only inhabited island on Louisiana’s gulf coast. It is a coastal community, bordered on the east by Barataria Pass, on the west by Caminada Pass, on the north by Barataria Bay, and on the south by the Gulf of Mexico. State Highway 1 crosses a bridge from the mainland onto the island on the western side and ends on the eastern side of the island near the state park. Grand Isle has about seven miles of public beach that is maintained by the town. Along the beach and throughout the island are a large number of private "camps" repopulated every summer by owners and vacation renters. The island’s basic economy revolves around sport fishing, commercial fishing and recreational use of the beaches. It also supports several large oil and gas companies.
Grand Isle is a small community of about 1,400 permanent residents and a scattering of small businesses. The population of Grand Isle also varies seasonally as “camp" (beach house/fishing camp) owners arrive on the island. All of these are dependent upon local small businesses that include grocer, gas station, automobile repair station, marinas, motels, gift shops, nail and hair salons, shrimp and oyster shops, restaurants and bars, local fishing and dive guides, kayak and boat rental, etc. These small businesses are the heart of Grand Isle and are important to keep the community alive and vibrant.
The island has about 300,000 visitors a year. This supports many small businesses that include motels, marinas, restaurants, grocery store, gas stations, and specialized businesses for clothing, supplies, and recreational gear. Grand Isle hosts a number of “weekend fishing rodeos” during the spring, summer, and fall and during these times the number of people on the island can swell to over 15,000. The island is also the town of Grand Isle, a community managed by a Town Council and Mayor. The Nature Conservancy has significant land holdings on the barrier island that provide world-class birding during spring and fall migration. There is a Coast Guard station on the east end of the island. It also has a 100 acre beach state park (camping, fishing, bird watching, and picnicing), schools, a number of churches, a library, and both a police and fire department.