Afternoon in Grand Isle, Louisiana (PHOTOS)
Yesterday, I took a drive from New Orleans to the Gulf of Mexico to see for myself what's happening along the coast in the 6th week of the oil spill disaster. Global Green, since its involvement in New Orleans in 2005, has been committed to helping the people of the Gulf Coast recover, and this latest environmental tragedy has launched a renewed effort to respond to the needs of the local community.
Although the city of New Orleans is more than two hours away from the areas impacted by the oil as of yet, we know that the richochet effects on the local economy and culture will come to bear in the weeks and months (and most likely, years) to come.
To give outsiders a perspective of the landscape and region under attack by this ecological nightmare, I've documented here the images and impressions of the unique Louisiana lifestyle. It's a part of the country known for its Cajun food, music and heritage, for its rich history and diverse peoples, as well as its lazy roads with lush vistas and abundant wildlife.
The local economy depends upon fishing.
The local economy depends upon oil.
Once the rest of the country reconciles its love of the first and its dependence upon the second, with the ease and low cost with which these products are acquired, it's important to recognize the debt owed to South East Louisiana for the American lifestyle we so happily enjoy. There are no short-term solutions, unfortunately, to the near-term shortage and high prices we will face of both seafood and oil. In the long-term, however, it's vital that we seize this opportunity to demand the alternative energy solutions our country requires and the clean environment our food supplies and natural habitat require.
Upon arriving at Grand Isle, I found members of the media interviewing locals, National Guardsmen patrolling the shores and roving the roads, contractors working on the relief efforts, nervous locals waiting for the deadly tide to roll in, aid workers combing the community to respond to short term and long term needs, and others on reconnaisance missions like myself.
At the shop where I stopped to buy a soda, the shopkeeper said his business had not slowed down yet because of the new traffic from the groups above had temporarily replaced the usual seasonal fishermen and vacationing families. The woman who made my delicious shrimp po' boy said this supply of seafood was the last that would be available for awhile, as their supplier was running low, and they refused to purchase anything other than local products. A local contractor who was supervising dozens of workers laying booms out in the Gulf in 12, 14 and 16 hour shifts said that one end of the island had been turned into a contractor camp, complete with sleeping quarters, cafeterias, mobile office operations, and paid security - his company had been subcontracted out by so many contractors above them that he wasn't sure whether they were hired by the US government or BP.
Stay tuned to hear how Global Green will be partnering with local nonprofits to help communities impacted by the oil spill. Find out how you can help here: