Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Troubled Waters

When BP representative Randy Prescott proclaimed "Louisiana isn't the only place that has shrimp," I thought of my favorite man Timmy Cheramie and wondered if Mr. Prescott has ever peeled his own shrimp. See, Mr. Prescott, in the South we're taught a lot of things like how to make a roux; what's in a trinity; proper pronunciation of words like Tchoupitoulas, Ouachita, Natchitoches and Atchafalaya; and most importantly, if you can't say anything smart nice then don't say anything at all.

The tragic Deepwater Horizon oil spill hits close to home, literally. This ugly explosion not only claimed 11 lives, including a childhood friend, but the continued damage to the Gulf Coast is gutting. More than 125 marshy miles of Louisiana coastline—and parts of Alabama and Mississippi—have become mucked up in crude sludge. Regardless of what precautionary measures were or were not taken and where the blame lies, the chief concern is will and can this mess be cleaned, preferably before hurricanes tear through the South.

So while Louisiana may not be the only place that has shrimp, it is home to roughly a third of the U.S. seafood industry. It's also home to the most soulful shrimpers and fishermen in the business, and that means something too. It's not just where they work and how they make their living; it is their home and it's where they and the multiple generations before them spent their entire lives, working, living and being South Louisianians. So you see, Mr. Prescott, it's more than just shrimp that are being threatened here; you won't find the Mr. Cheramies ANYWHERE else!

[Photos via Boston.com and Gerald Herbert/AP.]

38 comments:

Snaily.. said...

I wish I could just get a sponge and clean that whole mess up.

Laidlaw said...

The whole thing is just disgusting, and Mr. Prescott should be publicly waterboarded for saying something so friggin ignorant.

Paige said...

It really is so sad that someone would say something so flippant and small minded about a community that has been very, very good to the oil industry and their company in better times. I get angry just thinking about it! My heart goes out to those poor animals and the poor men and women who make their livelihood on the Gulf waters.

Barchbo said...

This is the best blog post I've read about this, largely because it's personal and you really expressed the spirit of the region.

We've been praying here in Texas for our neighbors to the east that this mess gets cleaned up soon AND that they'll be spared any hurricanes this season. I can't even imagine.

M said...

So well put! Preach it!

Kate said...

The whole thing is just so sad. I really feel for the people and animals who are being hurt by the oil spill. I can't even begin to think about what kind of long term damage this is really going to do the ecosystem of the area.

Vanessa said...

It breaks my heart. Into so many pieces.

Anonymous said...

well said. thanks for sharing.

laura @ so alaurable said...

It is so, so sad. I cannot believe he said that. I'm praying that there's a way to make this better.

MaryBeth said...

Such a jerk, he should be forced to live in it forever.

Expats Again said...

You expressed the soul of Lousianna and where the heart of it's people belong. No amount of money could replace what BP has stolen from them--as if they haven't already been through enough, this comment hits hard.

Stephanie said...

This whole situation has made me heartsick, and those photos from the Big Picture were just plain heartbreaking. It's terrible.

Meg said...

Hallelujah!! I hear ya! It's so terrible. We just spent the weekend at our camp, and all of this really hit home. We visited with Mr. Charlie Melancon our congressman, and then watched him cry on CNN two days later to the world about it. And you're right, Mr. Cheramie's aren't anywhere else. BP can not build or rebuild a marshland or coastline or culture. It's so sad. I'm sorry about Gordon too. We saw his brother and Dad speak on TV and thank God they did because BP has hardly said one word about the poor people who lost their lives.

Michelle said...

The flippant attitude and absolute disrespect exhibited by the executives of BP is infuriating.

august25 said...

So well said! I live in the FL panhandle and have been watching this mess with one eye closed. It is so devestating.

J said...

Excellent and touching post...I only hope that one day our great grandchildren will be able to experience what we did as children, smells and good times on the beaches and marshes of the Third Coast. I know our children most likely will never be able to take in the smells of brackish water and poggie plants without the scent of gas..not that poggie plants are a good smell but they warrant fond memories of fishing and crabbing in the marsh.

Leigh said...

Thank you for this post. The photos are just devastating. Your words get to the center of the heartbreak.

Jennifer said...

Well said, Courtney. My heart goes out to all the wildlife and people and the beautiful landscape that are being destroyed by this catastrophic disaster. That someone could be so callous, say something that pours salt in the gaping wound, is incredibly sad. I am going to share this post on my Facebook page; I hope you won't mind.

megan said...

thank you for this post, courtney--it made me tear up. the photos are heartbreaking and this spill is so upsetting. i live in southwest florida, right on the gulf coast, and it looks like we're going to be getting some of this, too. so awful. something has to be done.

Mrs. Blandings said...

Unforgivable. I am sure people say things for which they are quite sorry afterward. Still.

Paloma {La Dolce Vita} said...

Thank you for this post, Courtney. This whole ordeal is so heartwrenching and it makes me sick to see the blatant disregard that some of these big wigs have for the environment and "the little guys".

Frau said...

It's really tragic and unbelievable, I can even imagine the long term effects this is going to have.

j.sahaya said...

it's just heartbreaking. really and truly. it's so hard to see images of the animals coated in the sludge but maybe that's the wake up call some people need to realize it really does effect everyone!

i am planning a road trip currently that will put me in new orleans for a few days before hallowe'en and i am really looking forward to enjoying the rich culture! you're lucky to come from such a strong place with such a rich heritage!

Devon said...

This whole matter is unforgivable and is, quite unfortunately, a terrible reminder of corporate power in this country gone awry. Even worse is that the majority of corporations are not even controlled by U.S. groups. We've lost those that even care about our country. It's terrible where greed will get you.

I'm truly sorry to hear about your friend Courtney. That is devastating.

Lauren said...

I am so so sorry that you lost a dear friend!!

I have been crying over these photos for a solid week now, and have been just speech less when it comes to attempting to make a statement about how heavy my heart is about the entire Gulf Oil spill and our Louisianian's....your post is so perfect, I might just have to re-post and say ditto.

The Lil Bee said...

It is so devastating. I am so sorry that you lost a childhood friend in the disaster.

Kate LeSueur said...

Amen.

Sweet Louisiana...has the best kept secrets, and always getting the short end of the stick.

Courtney said...

I just want to say Thank You for all the kind words, concerns, love and prayers! I truly, truly appreciate it so very much. Love to each of you, xxCourt

Christopher Paul said...

I was wondering when you would have a word about this. Many people are simply saying when is going to be over with, or in other words, they're sick of hearing about it. I've had to unfriend such ignorance! Everyone should at least acknowledge this is a serious situation.

Dianne said...

Bravo...a wonderful post. I hope the right people read it.

girloliver said...

you put it much more elegantly than me! I am so glad other bloggers are still talking about this!

Michele said...

New reader/first comment/great blog!
What a powerful post and so well articulated. These corporations are too far removed from reality and they become a mindset of their own. They think they are invincible - think masters of the universe. Why else would BP have been so stupid to put out the PR ad that has only infuriated people more? If the guys in the offices were more in touch with reality - our reality - they would have more sense and sensitivity. I don't live in the south, but I love my planet and this makes me sick. Thank you for saying what so many of us feel!

The Gimlet Eye said...

Thanks for this post. There is so much complexity to this issue, not only the environmental impact, but the impact on Louisiana's industry. I was glad to hear that someone mentioned it on her blog!

stylewannabee said...

I can't even look at the birds covered in oil. It is a tragic situation all around.

TheBeautyFile said...

The wildlife photos make me so incredibly sad. I want to look, but then I have to look away. It's so painful and I hope that it just gets cleaned up very soon. I know the damage is done and will continue to strike, I just hope it stops soon.

The Vice said...

Shrimp!!! What about the natural wildlife!!! Yes, work will be affected for many, but imagine the unrepairable damage to those waters! Not only is oil affecting daily our air (something we just simply cant avoid), but now is affecting something that should have definitely been avoided and/or fixed by a damage control project, previously planned. It is so freaking sad that it is still going on without any clear solution to stop it.

ghost chair said...

my stomach churns every time I see photos of the oil on shore. human beings are such careless, disrespectful creatures.

Sabrina said...

This is horrible, so tragic.