New Orleans, La. – The Chandeleur Islands look like semicircles of sand curved away from the shoreline. They took a beating in Hurricane Katrina five years ago, and are now mostly slivers of white sand guarding the entrance to jagged wetlands. Those wetlands are the natural protection for the New Orleans area from hurricane storm surge. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration spokeswoman Jacqui Michel (mih-shel) says crews will gently wash oil from the Gulf side of the islands to keep what's left on the beaches.
"On the sand side, what we're going to do is - if there's any of that moussy stuff on the surface we'll scrape that off. But we're very sensitive to not removing any sand."
Meantime, several brown pelicans in two main nesting areas in marshes father inland have been spotted covered in oil.
For NPR News, I'm Eileen Fleming in New Orleans.