Posts Tagged ‘Oil Spill’

Reflecting

We arrived back in Atlanta Monday night at 11pm exhausted, but inspired.  It has been a process of reflecting for us, and I think we are each processing what we have just experienced in our own way.  There is a ton of content to sort through and post, and over the next couple of weeks, we will be posting stories that we have uncovered along the way, including more in-depth stories from our time with those who we have mentioned already.

In the meantime, here is a quick pictorial of our journey.  Check our Flickr page for more stunning images, with many more to come.

We filled the tank with B100 Biodiesel at SA White Oil in Marietta, Ga. on the way out.  Special thanks to Travis for the fill-up!

Biodiesel Fill-up in Marietta, Ga.

After a full day of driving, we were crossing the bridge over Lake Pontchartrain in the late afternoon

Lake Pontchartrain

We stopped to take several pictures down in the delta on the way to Grand Isle, La.

Sprit of the Gulf Coast Team

Sunset over the Louisiana Delta

I was glad to be at camp after a long day of travel

Brandon at Camp on Grand Isle

I didn’t know Terrell had it in him

Terrell Clark at Camp on Grand Isle

Saturday morning, the sunrise over Grand Isle was incredibly beautiful

Grand Isle Sunrise

Grand Isle Sunrise

Terrell captures some incredible images on the Gulf Stream Marina

Man Fishing on Grand Isle - Terrell Clark Photography

Terrell at work

Terrell Clark on the Gulf Stream Marina

Provocative installation on Grand Isle

Grand Isle BP Oil Spill Demonstration

Grand Isle Oil Spill Demonstration

We stopped for lunch before our boat charter and talked with some locals

Lunch Stop

On to Bridge Side Marina to meet Captain Kenny for our offshore tour

Bridge Side Marina - Grand Isle, LA

Our team hops aboard with Captain Kenny of Bent Rod Offshore Fishing Charter

Bent Rod Offshore Fishing Charter

Terrell takes advantage of our stopover at the oil rig to capture this image

Oil rig caught in the net

Andy tests the water for herself

Andy tests the water

Terrell takes it all in

Terrell Clark takes it all in

We got to see the BP cleanup operation in progress

BP Cleanup operation

After our offshore tour, we ran into Alexandra Cousteau’s Expedition Blue Planet team on the Marina – awesome people!

Expedition Blue Planet

That night, we met some local fishermen on the bridge, including this very energetic boy with his bucket of crabs

Kid on the Bridge - Grand Isle, LA

On Sunday afternoon we headed to Pearlington, MS where we talked with some local Katrina survivors

Smoking

Our final stop took us to Alabama near Dauphin Island – we stopped to see who was behind this provocative imagery

Provocative Signs

Dispersant statement outside Dauphin Island, AL

We found the creator, Lori and had a deep discussion with her on her experience.

Lori & Kim

We have a ton of content to prepare and upload.  Stay tuned for the video interviews of the people we connected with, and the additional imagery yet to be posted.  If you are not already following us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr, check us out on those channels too, and you can also subscribe to the blog posts via email on the top right of the page.  Thank you to everyone who is following our journey!


25

08 2010

Resilience

We just left the home of an incredibly welcoming family in Pearlington, Mississippi where we talked about how this local community has weathered the storm in recent years. And by the storm, I mean multiple setbacks, some of which are weather related while others are indirect impacts of past storms and the recent oil spill.

Daryl has saved things from multiple hurricanes including Katrina and Gustav; it’s quite simple to him – you save things that can be saved so that money and resources are not wasted. He showed us tools, generators, fishing equipment – on and on and on was the list of items rescued from past disasters. He now has a shed full of equipment that is perfectly useful.

As he told us his stories about neighbors who were discarding things that had been ‘ruined’ (but that he fixed in a matter of minutes), it became clear that there is a level of ingenuity and resilience in these communities that is unlike anything I have ever seen. Daryl rode out Katrina with his boat tied to a tree while he watched his home float off its foundation in front of him. 3 years later, He rode out Gustav which flooded his home again. He’s still working on the house that is replacing the home he lost in 2005. The beautiful new home is still a few months away from completion, so he stays with his mother and girlfriend in a camping trailer next to the new house that towers above it.

Just imagine for a moment what it must be like to live through that kind of adversity. It’s something I have a hard time wrapping my head around. Regardless of the past tragedies, he is staying put. He loves other parts of the country – especially Colorado ski country, but his home is in the Mississippi low country. No matter how many storms come through, this is where we will always return. I think this embodies the Spirit of the Gulf Coast perfectly.

Special thanks to The Mountain Man, Cameron – my friend in Georgia that made the connection for us. We really enjoyed our visit!

Terrell is driving us up to Gulfport through the rain where he has family we are staying with tonight. I can’t wait to hear what they have to share! In my next post I will show some of the amazing images from our visit with Daryl and his family, but for now I had to share this piece of our journey.

(posted via iPhone)

22

08 2010

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.

22

08 2010

Donations, Expenses, and Relief

We are 2 days away from the start of our expedition, and I wanted to take a couple of minutes to address the donations we are receiving and the expenses for the trip.  Check out a short video I posted this morning that addresses this topic.

We want to make sure that it is clear that our expenses for the trip are almost entirely local expenses, and the money is going straight into the local communities along the coast who have been dramatically impacted by the BP oil spill.  Every dollar that we spend with the local hotels, restaurants, cafes, fishermen, etc. provides much needed relief to the people in these communities.  These people rely largely on tourism and revenue from fishing in the Gulf for their survival, and they are struggling with the dramatic reduction in both tourism and fishing revenue as a result of this disaster.  These are the stories we want to capture and share with you, and these are the people that we are supporting by going down to the coast.  If you choose to make a donation to our effort, it will be going straight into these communities that have taken such a hit in recent months.

When we return, we will be planning the follow-up conference that will have its own set of expenses, but for now, all the donations are going down to the Gulf with us.  A special thank you to all those who have stepped forward and supported our efforts thus far.  We couldn’t do this without you!  Please visit the Supporters page on our site to see who has stepped up and provided their financial assistance.  We would love to add your name or your business to this list, so please consider making a small donation today.  Every dollar counts.

Thank you and we look forward to sharing these stories with you in the days ahead!

18

08 2010