Yes Yes Yes We Have Seafood


Last week, I went to New Orleans to meet with environmental and social justice groups that are working on the BP oil spill.  A couple of locals were kind enough to take some of the attendees on a boat trip out into the bayou and the Gulf of Mexico. 

Here is one of the boats leaving Happy Jack's fish camp in Plaquemines Parish:


The first thing that hit me was the overwhelming smell of crude oil.  Our boat captain, a local, told us that he had been to this area many times before and never smelled anything like this.  When our boat would stop, the smell would envelop us as though we were in a lake of crude oil.

Not far from Happy Jack’s, we pulled up to look at oiled marsh grasses.  Here is an example of what we saw:



You can see that the booms hadn’t done much good.

After a while, we headed farther offshore to some small islands where pelicans were roosting.  Here is a photo of some of the birds hanging out, using booming material as a perch:



We also saw booms up on the beach, where they did absolutely no good:



The water was shallow enough around these islands that drilling could occur on “jack-up” rigs like the one you can see in the background of this photo:



We saw a few oiled pelicans inside the boomed-off area.  This was one of the few spots where the boat stopped but we could not smell crude oil -- downwind of the pelicans:



On our way back, we stopped for lunch at L’il G’s Kajun Restaurant in Belle Chase.  You can check out their menu at:  The sign outside of L’il G’s spoke eloquently of the concerns of the locals about the health of the fishing industry, an industry that is far more valuable to the State of Louisiana than oil:  “Yes Yes Yes We Have Seafood.”  While one-third of the Gulf is still off-limits to fishing, some justly famous Louisiana seafood is still to be found.  If you come down to Belle Chase, stop in and try some.