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It was just 166 years ago today, August 10, 1856, when the island’s last hurricane hit off the coast of Louisiana, causing widespread damage and death. Also known as the Great Storm of 1856, this hurricane has no official name, as it was not until 1953 that hurricanes were so identified. Hard to predict, except for the season, many lives were lost before he even made landfall. Several ships at sea were tossed about in the gulf like toy boats as winds estimated at 150 mph destroyed anything in its path.
Before and after image courtesy of Wikicommons, public domain.
Last island, Louisiana was at the center of the hurricane’s destructive path. The storm surge, about 12 feet high, wiped out the island, all structures, hotels, casinos and homes were washed out to sea. The last island was about 25 miles long, but after the power from the storm surge, the geography was so drastically changed that the remains are now divided into five small islands with little vegetation. Now called the Last Islands, the five small islands are East, Trinity, Whiskey, Raccoon and Wine. In total, the storm claimed the lives of more than 200 people. With swollen rivers all over the Gulf Coast and damaged or shattered buildings, it’s something to behold, the power of Mother Nature throughout history.