After Hurricane Katrina, the American press focused our attention almost exclusively on New Orleans, and has continued to do so.  But there were just as many victims of Katrina in Southern Louisiana (outside New Orleans), Mississippi, and Alabama.  

My father–who, along with my mother, does alot of volunteer work for their church–went to Bayou La Batre, a fishing village on the Alabama Gulf Coast which was devastated by Katrina, and helped alot of people with debris removal.  It was then that I first became really aware of the fishermen, oystermen, crabbers, and shrimpers along the Gulf Coast. 

A few years later, I watched a documentary on a public-access channel, about these same people.  The program showed how the unfair importing of seafood from foreign countries was affecting these American seafood harvesters along the Gulf of Mexico.  It was, and has been practically destroying their livelihoods.  Ever since I saw that film, I have been especially mindful of these people.  It’s not as much a national issue, with me, as a local one. 

And whenever I dine at a seafood restaurant (which I do, quite often, with the Singletons), I ask the waiter or waitress if the seafood is locally caught (i.e. from this side of the Gulf of Mexico).  If he or she answers in the negative, or doesn’t know, I simply order a non-seafood dish.  There was one restaurant, the Crab Trap, at which I was told the crabs were imported from other parts of the U.S., primarily Alaska.  But the other specialty seafood items were locally caught.  So I ordered the fried shrimp–and I do believe that was the best shrimp I’ve ever had!  If I’d had a serious craving for king or stone crab (rather than blue crab, which comes from the Gulf) I might have ordered it.  But why get something that’s been frozen or kept alive in a tank for several days, when I can get fresh seafood from this coast, on which I live–and help the local seafood harvesters at the same time?

Now what am I going to order–what am I going to do?  And far more importantly, what are the restauranteurs, like those at the Crab Trap, who specialize in locally-caught seafood, going to do?  What are the seafood suppliers (like Joe Patti’s here–which, according to the Pensacola News Journal, is being swamped by customers this weekend, desperate to get the last of the seafood) going to do?  What are the seafood packers and processors going to do?  And what are the fishermen, oystermen, crabbers, and shrimpers going to do? 

For that matter, what are all other employees in the local seafood industry going to do?  And what are all those in the tourism industry, which include charter-fishing-boat captains, going to do?

The oil slick is coming this way, and is expected to arrive by Tuesday.  What are the residents here–as well as vacationers from elsewhere–going to do?

What are any of us going to do?  

This is not even to mention the flora and fauna here, which will just be laid to waste.  This environmental tragedy is a human one, as well.  We will all be affected negatively, for a very long time.  I used to think the worst thing to occur in the Gulf of Mexico was a hurricane.  Now I know better. 

When I started this post last night, my blood pressure went way up–and I had to stop in the middle of it.  This morning, I took my medication for it after breakfast, and that should hold up.

I pondered whether I should even do a post on this–it’s so overwhelming that no one page can possibly do it justice.  But that’s the reason, I guess–it’s too overwhelming not to be addressed.   

I’m reminded of a segment from one of George Carlin’s routines, entitled The Planet Is Fine, in which he reminded us that no matter what damage we humans do to the earth, it will recover–it’s we who might not.   And he’s right–the damage we do to the environment, accidental or not, only damages us in the end.  The Creator, through divine evolution, has included natural solutions to catastrophes such as this.  But they go into effect in natural time, not human time.

So all we can do, in this part of the country, in this part of the world (other than near-vainly assisting in the “cleanup”), is wait this out–and hope and pray that the earth recovers from it before even the youngest among us die of old age.


  1. 1 Abby May 2, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    Before reading this, my main concern was for the wildlife that will certainly be killed by the approaching oil. I hadn’t even realized the affects it is going to have on the livelihoods of so many!

    • 2 solosocial May 2, 2010 at 4:02 pm

      Yes–and not only the livelihoods, but the lives. Whenever I go to the beach, I spend most of my time swimming. Once this oil-slick arrives at Pensacola Beach, nobody’s going to be able to swim.

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