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September 11, 2008 Damage Report
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Hurricane Update

September 11, 2008, Damage Report

Hurricane Gustav made landfall on September 1, 2008. Ten days later, no local, state, or national officials have visited our devastated community. A few organizations have contacted the Tribe to try to assist, but few supplies have made their way to the lower ends of Bayou Pointe-au-Chien. Tribal members are still in the dark, without water, and now under a mandatory evacuation because of Hurricane Ike. Over 130 homes of Pointe-au-Chien tribal members received damage from Gustav; some homes will probably be condemned due to the repetitive flooding and destruction from the wind.

Some of the damage to the community is a direct result of policies to (1) not restore the barrier islands; (2) not build a levee to protect this part of Lousiana; (3) reroute the Mississippi to eliminate the top soil deposits that previously replenished this area; and (4) increased salinization resulting from loss of barrier islands and oil exploration.

Our community does not have a voice. One reason is because of our small size; we are a tribe of approximately 700. For years, our people could not attend high school because of the segregation policies in Louisiana. These policies result in disadvantages for our people. The main reason we do not have a voice is our lack of federal status, which impedes our ability to preserve our land and culture. The process is inherently flawed in that we have to raise over $300,000 just to put together a bare bones petition to the Department of Interior.

Tribal Lawyer Joel Waltzer writes: Lafourche Parish has ordered a mandatory evacuation for the lower reaches, specifically including our communities of concern, Pointe-au-Chien and Isle Jean Charles, as a result of gulf water being pushed ashore by Hurricane Ike. The hurricane tracked farther north today than predicted. Ike was supposed to have gotten no closer than 270 miles from PAC. While it appears to have made the expected westerly turn (and I pray that is not a "wobble"), on Friday at 7 am through the afternoon, it will be closest to PAC, around 220 miles according to Google Earth. Its tropical storm field extend north east 200 miles. NHC modeling gives PAC a 10% chance of 5 foot storm surge, up from 5% yesterday. This would change if Ike gets further north. Regardless of the height, officials state that the waters are already on the rise and that high waters blown in by the high south winds are expected to stay for THREE DAYS. Some models predict highway LA 1 will be underwater. By Saturday, the high waters should begin to recede.