Traces of the oil slick spilling from the failed BP oil well in the Gulf of Mexico began to reach the Breton-Chandeleur Island chain, Gov. Bobby Jindal reported early Tuesday, but clean-up crews and others were having trouble finding it.
After sending several boats to the area, the Coast Guard said it could not confirm that the oil had actually made landfall.
Small patches of thick,red-colored oil inside large areas of light oil sheen were spotted on the inshore side the barrier island chain drifting west toward St. Bernard marshes Tuesday afternoon on a flight by The Times-Picayune.
However, newspaper photojournalist Chris Granger said he could see no concentrations of oil on the barrier islands' beaches, currently a key nesting sight for a wide array of shore and water birds.Chris Granger / The Times-PicayuneA shark, bottom right, confronts a line of oil about two to three miles northwest of the Chandeleur Islands in the Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday.
Granger and Dicky Toups, chief pilot of Southern Seaplane, said the light sheen was in long bands as wide as a half-mile and one mile long. The thicker patches of red oil inside the sheens were about 20 yards wide and 100yards long. The entire slick was just west of Gosier and Grand Gosier islands in Breton Sound, about 20 miles east of the edges of the marsh.
The sightings came toward the end of a day of confusing reports about just where oil had come ashore.
Earlier Jindal announced oil had definitely come ashore on the sensitive barrier island chain, but BP clean-up crews later said they found no oil onseveral trips to the site.
The reprieve from any significant oil landfall did not lessen the flurry of activities centering around the oil spill Tuesday. While work continued on a relief well to plug the flow of oil beneath the surface and boats resumed skimming the slick, construction of a containment chamber to capture some of the oil as it flows from the well was being wrapped up.Government leaders out in force
Father inshore, the oil spill continued to draw the attention of local government leaders.
Flanked by St. Tammany Parish President Kevin Davis and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Jindal on Tuesday praised local efforts to protect Lake Borgne and possibly Lake Pontchartrain from BP's massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Scott Threlkeld / TheTimes-PicayuneOfficials inclusing Sen. David Vitter, left, Gov. Bobby Jindal, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and St. Tammany Parish President Kevin Davis talk near 5,000 feet of oil boom Tuesday at Fort Pike.
Jindal helicoptered to the Rigolets pass linking Lake Pontchartrain with Lake Borgne and the Gulf to meet local officials and U.S. Sen. David Vitter. On the banks of the pass lay about 5,000 feet of oilcontainment booms ready for deployment on six hours' notice if more distant booms in Lake Borgne prove ineffective.Â
Meanwhile, crews were expected to begin placing 200,000 feet of booms in Lake Borgne and at the mouth of the East Pearl River on Tuesday.
Jindal said Davis was one of the first parish leaders to present a plan to deal with the spill after finding that BP and the Coast Guard did nothave such a plan in place.
State and local officials said they have laid their own plans to protect the lake and other coastal areas, hoping that BP and the Coast Guard will sign off on its costs and allow the officials to proceed, Jindal said. The company and the Coast Guard already have approved initial plans for St. Tammany, St. Bernard and Plaquemines parishes, he said.
Landrieu thankedDavis for "stepping up to the plate" and noted the efforts by St. Bernard Parish President Craig Taffaro and Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser, as the oil doesn't respect boundaries.
David Grunfeld / The Times-PicayuneA flotilla of shrimp, crab and oil work boats head south Tuesday down Southwest Pass, laden with oil booms in preparation for placing them in sensitive areas along the...
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