TERREBONNE PARISH, La. (WGNO) — Move-in day has finally arrived for Isle de Jean Charles residents and members of the Jean Charles Choctaw Indians.
“Today is not so much a celebration, but today it is something new,” said Chris Brunet, an Isle de Jean Charles native.
Back in 2016, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development provided the state with a 48 million dollar grant to move residents from Isle de Jean Charles to higher ground. The island, which once consisted of 22,000 acres, has washed away over the years and is now down to just 300 acres.
The voluntary relocation is bitter-sweet for the Jean Charles Choctaw Indians, who have lived on the island for more than 200 years.
“It’s still not home yet, but it is a house and I’m grateful for it,” said Brunet.
“It’s just the landscaping, even the air, you know, the sound of the waves the boats, you know, it’s a different change,” said Howard Brunet, an Isle de Jean Charles native.
Governor John Bel Edwards came to “The New Isle” in Gray, welcoming the residents to their new homes.
“Keeping communities in place is obviously what we want to do and that’s what we try to do every time we possibly can, but at the end of the day, people do have to have a safe place to live,” said Governor Edwards.
While Isle de Jean Charles natives are grateful for the move, they say it’s going to be an adjustment from the life they’ve always known.
But they still have their homes on the island and that’s where many say their hearts will always be.
“For us in Louisiana, where we come from means the world to us,” said Chris Brunet.