Lacy MacAuley


a home for my pen, projects, and passions

day 4, goose chase on the DC to New Orleans bus tour!

One of the boon workers on Orange Beach said he'd protest BP too if he could.

Well, we’ve driven hither and yon today to look for oil. We haven’t found anything more than a few oil blobs and some boon workers, on Orange Beach, Mississippi. The workers were on a crew that was putting up boons, the bright white ones lain on the beach alongside the dark ones that had soaked up oil. We didn’t actually see them handling any boons, though. It seemed we rolled up on them at lunch time. We told them we were protesting BP, and one of them said he might join us if he could.

Nearby there were oil blobs the size of a fist. There were also signs of cleanup crews, picking up the oil blobs with their hands encased in plastic gloves and placing the blobs in large clear plastic bags. None of the bags we saw being collected contained more than, say, a gallon-milk containers’ worth of blobs. I couldn’t help but notice how wasteful this was.

We spotted oil blobs the size of a fist.

We also noticed that the water was full, choc full, of tiny oil blobs about the size of a quarter, washing ashore. These blobs might be too small for human hands to preoccupy themselves with, but they were certainly large enough to matter to fish, crabs, and birds. Perhaps what the most glaring sign of this corrupted beach was what was absent: practically any sign of life, besides busy humans. And this was on a beach with heavy cleanup efforts.

As we went to leave Orange Beach, we encountered two men servicing some of the many porto-johns. “We do all the toilets around here,” said the slim one with the straw hat. “I’m telling y’all – you should go to Fort Morgan. It’s really bad there.”

The second man spoke up. “If they really want to see oil, they should go to the closed area. But they wouldn’t let them in.” Then he gestured to me, with a wide grubby grin, “She can go, I’ll just tell them she’s my girlfriend.” The man had a scruffy brown beard and a belly that reminded me of a sea cow, but that didn’t stop him from smiling wider and saying that he “was about to bust out his thong” to account for the heat. We all got a good laugh and (calling him “sugar,”) I told him that if he could get me onto a closed beach, sure I’d pretend to be his girlfriend. Then we all thought better of it and Flux and I departed to head to Fort Morgan.

A disgruntled protest sign to BP that we saw on the road.

Fort Morgan turned out to be an exercise in futility. We saw boons everywhere but not a lot of oil. We saw disgruntled signs put on the road. We stopped at a BP station or two as we drifted through. And we wound up near a fishing town on the coast called Waveland, which had been hard-hit by Hurricane Katrina. We saw a little oil clump here and there, but the water looked fairly clear wherever we went. The only devastation was the many houses still left unrestored in these fishing communities, broken wood and knocked-down houses visible everywhere. It made me wonder how many people had been displaced, how many peoples’ proud heritages had been scattered in the wind. It’s not a pretty thought, but the oil spill is a slower poison that, in the end, will claim more lives and livelihoods than the hurricane. In this community shoddily rebuilt after the hurricane, there is trouble in the water, and their heritage may not survive the toxic swill.

Many houses in Waveland recalled the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. The oil spill is slower, but could be deadlier than the hurricane.

We were just entering Louisiana as President Obama was addressing the nation from the Oval Office. We celebrated the fact that he touted alternative energy. We just hope that the government makes BP cap and clean to the full extent of their assets.

As the sun lowered toward the horizon, we steered the Mobile Broadcast News veggie bus to the city of New Orleans. Arriving long after dark, our hearts were lifted a little by the insurmountable spirit and the many charms of the Big Easy.


Filed under: activism, climate justice, environmentalism, human welfare, lacy's life, media, thoughts and philosophies

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