Hurricane Georges extensively damaged the Chandeleur Islands, barrier islands approximately 60 miles east of New Orleans and 30 miles south of Biloxi, Mississippi. These islands are the first line of storm defense for eastern Louisiana, especially New Orleans, and western Mississippi. Photos from four time periods, with lighthouse and boardwalk as markers, showing almost complete flooding and disappearance of previously existing vegetated land mass from Georges (photo taken Sept. 29, 1998); compared to pre-Georges (February 1998); post Hurricane Opal (October 1995); and previous typical pre-storm conditions (November 1987).
SIGNIFICANCE: USGS biologist, who has flown over islands for the past 10 years after every hurricane and tropical storm, says it is worst damage he has seen on islands. Not only do islands protect the mainland, but they are also important for commercial and recreational fishing and are one of four Gulf of Mexico wintering grounds for migratory redhead ducks, which feed on the islands' seagrass beds.