Shell Beach


Robbie lives in Shell Beach where every time a northeast wind blows 30 miles per hour for over 8 hours, the streets begins to flood. His bait shop is less than a block away from the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet, what he had and the other guys at Campo's call "Mr. Go".

This is the outlet that was blamed for increasing Katrina's destruction.

Robbie says every year the flooding get worse because of beach erosion. "Rebuild our barrier islands, and then see what happens." he said.

Since Mr. Go had a role in Katrina's destructive force, the Army Corps constructed an earthen dam in 2009 to close it off from the rest of the gulf, but when the wind comes and Mr. Go floods Shell Beach, Robbie says the dam holds the floodwaters in.

"When Katrina came through," says Robbie. "There was 20 feet of water in here. It was touching that middle power line, and everything was destroyed but it was dry as a bone the next day. In Isaac, we got 8 feet of water, which did a bunch of damage but it took two days to get drained out of here. The folks in New Orleans got MRE's, but no one came out past the flood wall for Isaac. No one helped us out."

"The truth is," he says, "the state don't want us out here. Not past the flood gates."

The picture above is of a fishing boat that was destroyed during Isaac, a storm that claimed Campo's Marina in September of 2012.

It's January of 2013. We're standing outside of the new wooden structure of Louisiana's oldest family owned marina. It's nearly cloudless and seventy degrees as the sun begins a neon-colored descent into the bayou. Pelicans flock around the docks. The Campo's youngest grandson sets down a crate of poagies. Robbie pours out a diet coke onto the bait fish before he continues, "But hell, we'll keep rebuilding."


“Shell Beach,” Hurricane Digital Memory Bank, accessed May 26, 2024,