The Jean Charles band of Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw lived in the same place for more than 200 years. But now it’s almost entirely washed away.
By the middle of the 20th century, there were nearly 400 people living on the island. At that point, the land was 11 miles long and five miles wide — providing this Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw tribe with 55 square miles of lush, open land on which to hunt, farm, and thrive.
But all that’s left today is a half square mile of marshland — two miles long and a quarter-mile wide — with two dozen families struggling to survive. The island’s remaining residents still speak their own colloquial French-Cajun dialect and work as fishermen, oystermen, and fur trappers to survive. But ecological damage has made that work hard to come by too.