Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Gulf journals: Where is everybody?



Like a scene from a classic "Twilight Zone" episode, the Gulf Coast city looked like a ghost town in the middle of vacation season. No tourists, no activity.

Jonathan Nateghi-Asli visited oil-soaked Grand Isle, Louisiana, on June 23 after doing Hurricane Katrina relief work in New Orleans with seven teens and two adults from his church in tow. The Washington-area resident has made the trip down about three times per year since October 2005, shortly after the storm came. This time, they came to work on a local church.

After all that labor, he says the group used their day off to visit what was, in his words, "another disaster in the making." The scene was familiar and maybe even a bit unsettling.

"The town of Grand Isle is very desolate," he described. "It reminds me of what New Orleans looked like after Katrina. Lots of military vehicles parked; no damage to homes, but very quiet and serene. This town should be very busy this time of year."

The group walked on the pier in Grand Isle State Park and drove through the town. Nateghi-Asli saw booms on the water and rental signs up on homes, but no people except for workers in tents, sitting and waiting to be deployed. For the most part, he and his church group were the only ones around. Fishing boats stayed tied up in canals, and there appeared to be a layer of oil on the water and in the scent of the air. All was still and quiet.  "You could hear the water and lots of thunder rumbling as there were storms rolling in off the Gulf," he said. "The waves crashed and there was always a sheen right along the water and sand edge."

Nateghi-Asli wondered how ordinary citizens felt about handling dual crises in one state. When curiosity got to him and he posed this question to the people he met along the way in Louisiana, he got two very different kinds of responses: that drilling is important for the economy, and that wetlands are endangered by this method of getting fuel. Nateghi-Asli says these opposing viewpoints are at the crux of the debate and there may be no easy solution.

"It is a double-edged sword because either way it is affecting the people and the economy."

Editor's Note: This blog post is part of a series of profiles of Gulf Coast residents and visitors directly affected by the oil disaster. If you'd like to share your story, you can upload photos and videos to CNN iReport.

34 Comments
June 30, 2010
Click to view wwkayakit's profile

Without republicans deregulating the oil industries, this might have never happened. We will always need oil but when we have the technology to utilize other renewable resources, we can ween ourselves off such a total dependance. But when you have an entire administration that makes a living off of oil over the course of 8 years, nothing will move forward. Republicans are the very evil this world needs to rid.

June 30, 2010
Click to view HowdyfromTex's profile

Bring it.

June 30, 2010
Click to view paspilla's profile

Your like the guy on the construction site with the cup of coffee in his hand, that bitches an moans about everything , but doesnt actually contribute anything to get the job done.

June 30, 2010
Click to view JXC's profile
JXC

paspilla.... I believe it's "you're"

 

Good ol' Republicans. 

June 30, 2010
Click to view janevoter's profile

I know, the republicans are to blame for everything wrong in this country! I think Democrats, Independents, Conservatives and yes even the Republicans have had something to do with this disaster.  Everyone party needs to own it!

June 30, 2010
Click to view SmokinDave's profile

Did WW know that oil has been a major source of energy before that %$#@!#$%&* George Bush and friends lived in the White House ?  Give it up  dude and contribute to the solution, not exacerbate  the situation ( for WW this means to "stir the pot ")

 

I don't think anyone should be allowed to vote that has no common sense....ThanX for your support.....Smokin' Dave

June 30, 2010
Click to view analogmind's profile

It's this back and forth bs that prevents change from ever actually happening. If people would stop pointing fingers, we might actually progress as a nation (in many many ways). Regardless of political lines, this spill is now a global issue...

June 30, 2010
Click to view destruk's profile

If the oil rigs were monitored as closely as other energy sources are, it wouldn't have happened.  or if it had anyway, there would have been a set working solution in place to prevent it from getting this bad.  Just think if the Hoover Dam was allowed to be run by a single person at the site - to decide to take potentially hazardous steps and overrule everyone else present because of his own position.  Or if Nuclear power managers could get drunk and still be allowed to make decisions like doubling the amount of plutonium they use for 10 minutes, to eek out an extra $200,000 that day.  It wouldn't happen.  But BP was able to take a risk, and their rig manager ignored all concerns of the crew, killed 11 people and ruined the gulf coast for decades to come all by himself - way to go dude - you will live in infamy.

June 30, 2010
Click to view paspilla's profile

Thanks JXC I was a bit busy completing something and not blaming the Republicans for all the troubles in the world and look what happened, I goofed on my spelling,but thankfully you saved me from a life despair.

 

I'm a Good ol' Independent

June 30, 2010
Click to view fisherperry's profile

Where are the Looters.........Iam sure that they will soon arrive

June 30, 2010
Click to view fisherperry's profile

The State of Louisiana  and its people are getting their just dues...never have I EVER SEEN A MORE UNREGENERATE PEOPLE .

June 30, 2010
Click to view TexRenegade's profile

FisherPerry: I wish you could "come on down" and see if you could get your "just dues" in Louisiana.  There is a bad apple in every barrel and I think you are the one here.

June 30, 2010
Click to view Saresudog's profile

wwkayakit, I'm so tired of people like you who act like 3 year olds and point fingers.  This is not a Republican problem, and it's not a Democrat problem.  It's a world problem!  Are you aware that 250 million gallons of oil spill into the ocean worldwide each year?  Do you blame the Republicans for that as well?  Learn something for god's sake! 

 

And for the record I'm not a Republican.  I'm just tired of all this BS drivel that comes out of the mouths of people like you.  Always quick to point the finger.  Never any solutions.  And always the first to complain when prices at the pump go up.

June 30, 2010
Click to view Truthhurtsyo's profile

I don't see any quick fix for the tourist industry in the southern states on the coast until we get this leak fixed.  After that we need to clean it up, fix the damage to the water (how do we restore the oxygen loss or can we).  Curb fishing for a while to let the fish restock (probably should have stopped fishing right away to preserve as many as possible).  In the future we make the oil companies take the safety precautions seriously by make their officers swim in any spill every day until it is cleaned up.

June 30, 2010
Click to view Phantasia's profile

You know why they deregulated oil industries?  Because we're too lazy to lower our @#$%@# demand.  They've gotta keep drilling, we can't feed our population without oil.   As long as people say $@#% it I'm buying a Hummer, AMERICA @#%@ YEAH!  instead of deciding to embrace new technologies, they will have to keep drilling in more and more dangerous places.  Of course they have to remove regulations so they can drill where it's more dangerous.   We all have a responsibility in this, if EVERY person in America made tiny (FREE!) changes we could keep demand low enough so they don't have to keep going in more dangerous places while we research more technology.  We have an even bigger opportunity for that coming up - Iraq's production is about to be ramped up to quadruple what it was and they have the 2nd largest reserves in the world.  People can't even @#%@#%^ bring themselves to do the simplest things like taking their own bags to the grocery store.  Stop being so LAZY!! 

 

Just because you HAVE to drive a car doesn't mean you can't change MANY other things you do! Stop fueling your complacency by claiming people who talk about the need to embrace these new technologies are hypocritical because they are living in these times and everything includes OIL.  THEY ARE CONSCIOUS - AND THEY ARE DOING WHAT THEY CAN WITH WHAT THEY HAVE, WHERE THEY ARE - ARE YOU DOING THE SAME?!  Yeah, didn't think so.

June 30, 2010
Click to view gmmed's profile

fisherperry - You are so lame it's pathetic.  Your knowledge of the area and the people is only exceeded negatively by your lack of intelligence.  They oughta use your head as a sponge for the oil - maybe then you'd have something in that thick skull of yours. 

June 30, 2010
Click to view gmmed's profile

wwkayakit - make that politicians in general and not just the Republicans.  The Democrats are just as bad. Look at history - whoever is in office at the time an event occurs - it is always their fault.  In this case -"the muck stops at BHO's desk".

June 30, 2010
Click to view akinel's profile

Can we get some engineers on capitol hill please? because we don't BS our way through fixes and problems we solve, document, and blame AFTER the work is done (someone always has to pay the cleanup bill, but solving and fixing tends to shed light on the problem source). I thought problem solving skills were taught in grade school?

June 30, 2010
Click to view thelightof's profile

All was still and quiet.  "You could hear the water and lots of thunder rumbling as there were storms rolling in off the Gulf," he said. "The waves crashed and there was always a sheen right along the water and sand edge."

 

WHAT AN AMAZING DESCRIPTION OF HOW OUR PLANET WILL LOOK AFTER WE HAVE FINISHED DESTROYING IT....

 

 

June 30, 2010
Click to view cnadybar's profile

123

June 30, 2010
Click to view bovver's profile

Phantasia I agree with you 100%.

 

The unfortunate part is that we'll still require petroleum to produce electric cars, solar panels, windmills, etc. - while our dependence will be decreased it will never be eliminated.

June 30, 2010
Click to view gmmed's profile

akinel - Wasn't the problem solving skills supposed to be a politicians best attribute - 'scuse me I'm mistaken - their BS degree stands for the BullSh*t they keep spouting every time they open their mouths.   

June 30, 2010
Click to view BlueMoonofKY's profile

Phantasia, I love what you said. 

June 30, 2010
Click to view NewCentrist's profile

All these problems were caused by republicans and their "deregulation" of crooked oil companies. 

June 30, 2010
Click to view Guinness421's profile

Note that many citizens responded that oil drilling is important to their ECONOMY - not the US oil needs.   Down there, this is not an ideological issue.   

Even if we were to wake up tomorrow with all the windmills, solar panels, and nukes we could possibly need, the folks along the Gulf states, particularly Louisiana, would still want to drill soley for the sake of jobs and petro-dollars.   It's a bit disturbing that in face of such a large industrial disaster, there are those who would still put the short term benefit of jobs over the long term legacy of their irreplaceable ecosystem.   Other states considering off-shore drilling should pay close attention:  permitting this industry into your economy will give rise to a constituency so influential that all things that are currently cherished, white beaches, healthy fish, tourist dollars, quality of life, a rested populace, will become irrelevant.  

June 30, 2010
Click to view HBNOLA's profile

Wow, some of the comments here amaze me...@fisherperry:  I am from SE Louisiana, and your comments about the people here are absurd.  I have traveled the world and lived in two other States, and I assure you there are many great people here.  In fact some of the best. 

@wwkayakit:  I am sick of people trying to blame everything on Republicans. Sorry, but this accident did not occur because of deregulation. In fact there were many regulations in place, but BP chose to ignore them and the MMS did not inspect the Deep Water Horizon when they should have.

@Guinness42: Of course people still want to drill here.  Our tourism and fishing industries are already destroyed.  What else do we have?  Anyway, if we had to shut down every industry because of one disaster no one would be in business.  Did you know most spills occur because of tankers not wells?  You suggest Nukes.  Do you really believe nuclear power plants are safe?  Maybe you should talk to someone from Chernobyl.

July 1, 2010
Click to view windee42's profile

Every technology, no matter how many safeguards or regulations are in place, involves risk.  The last rig that failed in the Gulf was 31 years ago, and thousands of wells have been drilled in the interim until Deepwater Horizon. We'll get over this one, the industry will learn from what happened and, contrary to popular belief, the Gulf will recover.

July 1, 2010
Click to view Guinness421's profile

@HBNOLA -   My general point was a warning to other states that in allowing the oil industry to get a foothold, you risk the existence of other industries which you aptly stated by your comment that after the tourist and fishing industry being destroyed, "What else do we have?"  It is doubtful that any disaster related fishing or tourism would result in a shutdown.  Perhaps there are more spills from tankers but I think you would agree we are more capable to clean up a surface spill than one a mile beneath the ocean surface.   Sorry about the bad situation you and others in Louisiana are now experiencing.

July 1, 2010
Click to view terryyyy's profile

The media has caused as much damage as the spill itself, by making it sound much worse and scaring people away.

July 1, 2010
Click to view Bonjovi48's profile

I'm an Independent voter. I voted for the President. . BP is responsible to stop the gusher. The government is responsible to stop the oil from hitting land and give the bill to BP. Thad Allen, Coast Guard, EPA, and all the other agencies are responsible for cleanup and they answer to President . President Obama is responsible making sure that these agencies do their job. The agencies are not doing their job. It's time to criticize the President. He gave the analogy of fighting this diseaster like a war. The government is losing this oil war. The President is the Commander-In-Chief and his cleanup plan  for this oil diseaster is a failure.

July 2, 2010
Click to view Dust's profile

BP was Obama's biggest campaign contributor and political parties make no difference, Chaney and Bush big oil. Wherever the money is the politicians will sell themselves, the corruption is so deep seated the entire Federal Government needs to be fired. They have everyone caught in the good cop bad cop routine and when that stops working they start a war to divert our attention. If you think you have seen the worst they can do you are wrong, many of the elite class would just as soon kill every one of us. If you think there is another cure for over population think again. We are in the middle of the rise of the Fourth Reich and just like Germany in the 30's we are unable or unwilling to see it. If about five billion went into the ovens there would be no shortage of anything.

July 2, 2010
Click to view DaMikMan's profile

Oh, come on now.  The oil's still gushing, jobs are being lost, the market is in the tank again...but hey-yo, there's $795m to expand broadband...I feel better already

July 6, 2010
Click to view Maresha7's profile

They are reporting that an under water explosive device washed up on Orange Beach earlier today (July 6, 2010). Officials from NAS are being sent to the site. I wonder if there is any truth to reports that North Korea sent two torpedoes into the well since South Korea is reported to have contributed financially to Transocean. I would like to know where the under water explosive came from, and if we will be told the truth given media is being restricted in many cases.

July 18, 2010
Click to view katseo's profile

Miss Lou Dobbs . didnt like Dana Bash's reaction to Kathy Griffin's comments.  Seriously thinking about not watching cnn.

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