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2012 September 09, Sunday
Plaquemines Parish and Lafourche Parish, south and southeast of New Orleans, Louisiana

Hurricane Isaac may have taken our plane, but he didn't take our eyes.  We rented a friend's "Fun Wifty-Two" (Cessna 152), a small two-seat high-wing airplane, and set out to take a look at the northern parts of Plaquemines Parish and Jefferson Parish, around the Mississippi River and the new levee boundaries, and also southward to Grand Isle and west to Port Fourchon in Lafourche Parish. Then we headed eastward and returned back to New Orleans along the eastern coastal bays of Louisiana.  

There is a stark contrast indeed between land conditions outside and inside the new levee boundary, and on opposite sides of the Mississippi River. Things look terrific inside the levee. Outside, however, many structures remain flooded, and there are signs of enormous wind damage.  Lafourche Parish shows much damage as well.  The beaches on the seaside of Grand Isle and especially farther westward to Port Fourchon look as black and dirty as they appeared in the summer of 2010.  A few crews are out there working, but many fewer than in 2010, and there are no tents or boom scattered about.  

The only wildlife we saw were a few small groups of frigate birds and pelicans.  One of the most disturbing discoveries was that the island rookeries that were so full and beautiful in 2010 have for the most part been reduced to small clumps of dirty grass. 

Along the coasts and in the bays east of the peninsula, we saw isolated patches of rainbow oil sheen. The marshes south of Lake Borgne show very dark edges.  We are anxious to hear from experts just what that means, but it sure didn't look healthy. On our way home, there was a medium-sized marsh fire on the west side of the MRGO (Mississippi River Gulf Outlet), a few miles south of Lake Borgne.


Here are some videos from today's flight.  They are followed by our Flight Log (and for those who want, our precise GPS track file can be downloaded under this website's main menu item "Flight Tracks"), and our photo galleries are below that.  We'd love to hear from you if you can tell us more about the conditions we filmed!  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



*********FLIGHT LOG 20120909- OWOC Gulf Flight **********************

On Wings Of Care Flight Log for 20120909 Sunday
Surveying post-Hurricane Isaac effects in coastal Louisiana
Route:  KNEW to Barataria Bay, Grand Isle, Port Fourchon, Breton Sound, Lake Borgne


All waypoint numbers below refer to the GPS tracks shown in today's article at

Times are given in CDT. 
Lat/lons are given in degrees and decimal minutes.
Aircraft:  N4784E  Bonny Schumaker with Brayton Matthews of On Wings Of Care.
Seas and weather:  Seas 1  ft, scattered high clouds, 5-15 kt winds from the northeast-north.
Visibility:  Air good, sea good (the usual muddy in coastal areas).
Flight time:  2.8 hours
Flight route: KNEW - Barataria Bay (via MS River) - Grand Isle - Elmers Island - California Bay- Breton Sound - Eloi Bay - Lake Borgne - KNEW

0384. 1526 CDT  N29 51.736 W89 54.681
South of Violet, near Big Mar lake and Saint Bernard State Park.

0385. 1534 CDT N29 46.905 W90 00.588
East side of the river, about two miles south of the Navy base.

0386. 1541 CDT N29 39.115 W89 55.504
Just west of Horsepower Canal, along Hwy 39.

0387. 1551 CDT N29 33.051 W89 57.089
About a mile southeast of Round Lake.

0388. 1606 CDT  N29 18.457 W89 51.689
Near Bay Melville, just east of Isle Grande Terre

0389. 1627 CDT  N29 15.204 W90 01.690
Southeast Caminada Bay, on our return from Port Fourchon.

0390. 1653 CDT  N29 32.072 W89 27.678
Calfornia Bay and eastward.

0391. 1657 CDT  N29 35.500 W89 24.385
Eastern part of Black Bay.

0392. 1703 CDT  N29 41.140 W89 24.065
In the "MRGO", about 4-5 miles south of Eloi Bay.

(unmarked). 1715 CDT.  N29 50 W89 34
Marsh fire on the west side of the MRGO, south of Lake Borgne.