Conflicting Emotions, part 1

Saturday on Grand Isle was definitely different than anything I could have imagined before we embarked on this journey.  There is definitely a spirit here – one that defies description. It was this spirit – the spirit of the people in this community and many others like it that drove us to come on this amazing journey.

We got up early to catch the sunrise over the beach behind our ‘camp’ – this is how the locals refer to the compounds that are essentially houses on stilts that are full of bedrooms with multiple beds in each bedroom.  The camp we are staying in has 6 bedrooms, and more beds than we could even think about using. Josie at the Port Commission found this place for us after all of the cabins and motels we called were totally full (mainly with BP cleanup workers, Coast Guard, etc.).  Josie has truly been the most helpful resource we could have asked for here on Grand Isle, and we can’t thank her enough!  So, Saturday morning bright and early we walked out onto the beach to get some pictures.  I got what I believe are some very beautiful images of a fisherman wading in the tide at sunrise.

Grand Isle at Sunrise 8.21.10

Part of the team had already ventured down to the Gulf Stream Marina prior to sunrise and were already talking with some fishermen that had driven down from other parts of the state.  Nathan and I decided we would walk down the beach and meet up with them.  Not long into the walk, we saw a golf cart stop on the beach to pick something up.  Curious, I walked over and discovered that the man driving the cart had stopped to pick up a tar ball.  When I asked him if I could take a picture of it, he told me that I could take a picture, but I had to hold it because he did not want to be photographed.  He handed it to me on a glove and drove away.  See the video we recorded below:

We met up with Kim and Terrell who had been hanging with the fishermen on the pier and talked with a group of fishermen that had just arrived and were getting ready to head out on their boat (video to come soon).  They didn’t seem bothered by the oil fallout and were happy to be back out fishing.

Terrell Clark on the Gulf Stream Marina

After our quick chat with them, we regrouped back at camp before heading out to the East side of the island where we quickly ran across a very poignant scenes that was a harsh reminder of the magnitude of what happened here in this region and just how much of an impact it has had on the lives of those in these communities.

The Soul of Grand Isle, LA

Earlier, I had made some phone calls to arrange a boat to take us out into the Gulf, including one to Captain D, who Josie told us about Friday evening. Before leaving on this trip, we knew we wanted to get out and see the water and shoreline from the perspective of the local fishermen.  Their stories have been particularly of interest to me personally after my conversations with a few of the local fishermen in Venice a month ago.

Since the oil spill, the fisherman have not been able to so what they love to do most, fish.  So basically, you either sign up in the Vessels of Opportunity program (work for BP) and hope to get picked, or you don’t work.  Some of the people that did sign up on the VOO program were not picked to be utilized.  After a few phone calls, we ran across one of them, Kenny from Bent Rod Offshore Fishing Charter.  We made it a point early on in the planning stages of the Sprit of the Gulf Coast expedition that we were going to try to support the local economies as much as possible, and since fishing is such a huge part of the economy, chartering a local boat and having the time to connect with one of the people on the front lines as he gave us a peek into his world was a no brainer.

There are limited areas of the Gulf that have been reopened to fishing in the last 2 weeks, so some fishermen are back out on the water.  But that doesn’t mean things are back to normal.  Kenny would normally have a full calendar of charters this time of year, but today we were able to call him up and get out on the water a couple of hours later.  In my next entry, I’ll describe our 3-hour trip out into the Gulf with our incredible tour guide, Kenny, along with video footage of oil sheen just offshore and barely detectable, but nonetheless present crude oil droplets. Stay tuned for more to follow soon.  In the meantime, here are a few photos I took on Flickr.

About The Author

Brandon

Other posts by

Author his web sitehttp://www.brandonsutton.com

22

08 2010
  • Pingback: Tweets that mention Conflicting Emotions, part 1 | Spirit of the Gulf Coast -- Topsy.com()

  • Pingback: Our Conversations | Spirit of the Gulf Coast()

  • Justinleffler

    Justin- I am just curious what is going on now? Is everything operating normal? You have not made any post for a long time now.

    • Hey Justin – thanks for checking in. I am working on an update now that should be up on the site by tomorrow. There is a lot of activity happening right now, and unfortunately, much of what we are hearing from the people along the coast is not good news. There are ongoing impacts that are persisting along the coast, and we are keeping in touch with people down there to stay abreast of the latest.

      If you are on Twitter, you may want to follow us over there – I post more frequently on Twitter – links to articles, videos, etc. http://twitter.com/GulfSpirit

      Thanks again for checking in.