Modern examples of beach sands
Cheniers were described first along the coast of southwest Louisiana by Russell and Howe in 1935. They later were described by Fisk (1955), Fisk and McFarlan (1955), Byrne et al. (1959), and Gould and McFarlan (1959). Byrne et al. (1959, p. 2) described them as
… long low ridges which rise above the marsh to form the only inhabitable areas on the plain. They range from a few inches to more than 10 feet in elevation, from 2 to 15 feet in thickness, and from 100 to 1500 feet in width; the average chenier is approximately 7 feet thick and about 600 feet wide. In several areas ridges converge to form composite cheniers which locally attain widths of 3000 feet. Individual cheniers extend coastwise for distances up to 30 miles without interruption. In cross section they are steep on the front and slope gently landward. In plan view they are generally slightly concave toward the gulf except near rivers or embayments where they are terminated and curve sharply landward. Wash-over deltas produce an irregular landward margin which contrasts noticeably with the smooth shoreward outline.
Their characteristic branching pattern and landward curve near stream mouths are illustrated in Figures 19 and 20. From these illustrations it is evident that the chenier plain of southwest Louisiana is as much as 10 mi (16 km) wide.