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“When I Die, This is Where I Want to Be”

While in Grand Isle, we met a local fisherman named Frank who we had the pleasure of talking to for a few minutes. Frank was charming, friendly and talked openly about the values he was raised with and some of the changes he saw in this community since BP had been there.

What resonated with me the most about what Frank and many others shared, was the real connection they have with the water. Frank’s declaration of wanting to be cremated and spread over the water just drives home a love for the coast. It seems he sees the rhythm of his own life as working in tandem with ocean’s flow, and I wonder how much of this was taken into consideration when plans were made for the clean up.  BP’s clean-up efforts are complex and could probably not have been done in a way that would have made everyone happy, but I think coastal communities  really wanted to be more active in restoring the nature they depend on and ultimately see themselves a part of. When the oilspill happened I remember feeling anxious for it to end. I wanted BP to do everything it could to just stop oil from spewing into the gulf and clean it up as soon as possible.  But after listening to various people in the gulf,  I think it was just as important to consider HOW to clean up the oil. It is important to ensure that the cleanup didn’t turn into a “rescue” by BP, but is a commitment by the people and the company to work together to bring their coast to the health and beauty that they love.

Since our return, the team has been mentally digesting what all these narratives have showed us. We’ll continue to share and hope that you’ll continue to listen!



08 2010

Dispersing the Truth

While passing through a small town outside of Dauphin, Alabama, we saw these signs posted outside of a house and literally turned the car around to get pictures of it. All of us were so intrigued that we decided that it was worth it to try to talk to this person who was making these bold statements on painted placards of wood. 

Dispersant statement outside Dauphin Island, AL
Lori greeted us and was immediately open to telling us her opinions about the changes that were happening in her backyard. Among the many things that she shared with us, she really opened up about an issue that has been really sensitive to almost all the people who we’ve talked to on this expeditions; the dispersant. According to the NOAA, the fish in the gulf are perfectly safe enough to eat, but Lori offers up a different perspective on what the “clean-up” has done to the quality of her food.


08 2010

Come Along for the Ride Pt1

In our first full Day on Grand Isle we were filled with so much beauty, insight, and emotions it was hard to put into words. So we’re giving it to you in pics. This is the first of many in a series of just some of the things we took in while on this trip.

It started by waking up to this sunrise.


And hanging with some guys who were heading out to fish


Then heading back to our camp before hitting the road


We came across some public art.


There were definitely a strong statement being made.


And made an impression on all of us


No words.


After exploring the island for a bit, we got some grub.

Then proceeded to take a boat ride none of us would ever forget.

And yes, you are going to have to check into pt 2 to find out more. There is so much more to tell so stay tuned.


08 2010

First Day Impressions

I came into this project completely open. I have never been to Louisiana before much less the gulf. I’ve never heard creole or had authentic Cajun. I have no idea what to expect. I just know that I believed in what Brandon was trying to achieve and I wanted to help him do it.

As we drove further and further into Louisiana, something started to shift. It was subtle but palpable, a mood kind of set in. After mooning my team members  on the road (which we thankfully don’t have pics of) and chowing down at a Cracker Barrel with Halloween costumes, the tone changed from a fun road trip to something more humbling. I found myself suddenly confronted with the reality of why we were there. Something about seeing the people, hearing the cicadas, smelling the land, observing the dark, still water, all translated into an energy that said “This is real”.

This trip is not about pushing an agenda. It’s about connecting to the lives of the people who live here, and documenting how this vastly disruptive oil spill is affecting these individuals lives. And while I had seen our mission statement on paper, something about being there, made it plain. We were tapping into something bigger than just another conversation on oil policy. We’re giving voice to the humanity behind this “event”.

There was this one encounter we had while driving in, where we came to this really interesting intersection and decided to stop on the side of the road and take pictures. While we stood out with our cameras and iphones, setting up tripods and taking video a Creole woman named Gloria came over to asked us Why we were there. While her initial approach, was one of protectiveness by the end of the conversation the vibe had changed. The way she wished us well on the way out all told me that we couldn’t fully articulate why were there.

Ostensibly, it was to carry the stories of the people of the gulf back to our friends in Atlanta and beyond.

But in truth, it’s for something that is too big to grasp at this moment. Day one, the fun has just begun. Continue to follow the journey.



08 2010