- Posted June 9, 2010 by
New Orleans, Louisiana
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Track the oil disaster
All Beast... No Beauty Grand Isle
- katie, CNN iReport producer
I have been putting off uploading this iReport because I am so angry and have been since my visit to Grand Isle again yesterday. Where are the hundreds of BP workers that were flown in when the President made his flyover weeks ago? Haven’t been back... Since the spill I have been to Grand Isle five times and talked to a lot of the “locals” each time. I can’t begin to tell you how sickened these residents are. Both men and women, of all ages, got choked up when they spoke of what they see day after day. Here are a few of the things I saw on my trip.
I left New Orleans at 5:00AM since BP claimed that due to the heat his workers start early. I wanted to be down there by 7:00AM. (I drive fast) When I arrived at the Grand Isle State Park, I was informed that BP has now made the fishing pier parking lot their new “beach cleaning staging area” and the pier was closed. I paid my dollar and went in anyway. There are now tents with tables under them and other facilities in the pier parking lot. I parked in the grass and walked through the lot anyway without being stopped by anyone. There were maybe ten people walking and/or sitting around. When I got on the pier, I saw a few other people out there as well. They were looking and talking about the sheen in the water. There was a lot of sheen and it was coming ashore with the tides. There were also thicker dispersed oil droplets washing up on the sand. I turned at that point to check out the beach workers. I included a photo in both directions on the pier. See for yourself… How many people are working on this beach?
To give BP the benefit of the doubt, I thought there could be other staging areas farther down the beach. So I left the park and drove back along the island (there’s only one main road). I did not see any other staging areas. I stopped and went on the beach. The Tiger Dam (two large booms filled with water laying side by side in the sand) construction was completed and you are allowed on the beach up to the dam. The dam keeps the oil from going farther onto the beach in high tides. I was not surprised at what I saw. There weren’t any staging areas because there was no one out there. I included photos of the conditions on the beach… See for yourself and form your own opinion. Why isn’t anyone doing anything about these deplorable and TOXIC conditions. I went past the tiger dam to take my photos. To let you know how many people were on the beach, I walked about a quarter mile. I was stopping and taking photos at least twenty minutes before three security workers came and waved at me to come back on the other side of the boom. They were nice and checked my shoes for oil...
But where are the people Hayward promises over and over in his public relations campaign ad would be out here?
I left the beach and talked to some locals. One of them agreed to take me out in his boat to see the conditions in Barataria Bay area. I also knew that wildlife and fisheries are concentrating all of their efforts to rescuing oiled birds. We made a complete circle through the bay and around the gulf side of the island. There were also streams of dispersed oil floating atop the water maybe fifty yards from shore. I looked around and there were only three boats in the water. Two of them were skimming oil from atop the water with the boom stretched between the two boats. But that’s it… The only other boats were commercial and had nothing to do with clean up. The gentleman I was with got on his radio and called the people on the skimmers. He knows them because they are fishermen using their shrimp boats. They informed him they had oil…
We went into the Gulf along the beach side of the island and travelled to some smaller islands. The first one was Grand Terre and is just a couple miles from Grand Isle beach. Grand Terre used to be Fort Livingston and the crumbling fort still remains. As we reached Grand Terre we started seeing more oil. We saw the rusty colored dispersed oil but this was BLACK OIL rolling with the calm waters inland towards the bay area. We reached Fort Livingston and the oil was everywhere. The Captain got back on his radio and called the skimmer boats to tell them black oil was rolling in at Grand Terre. He was clearly upset. We left the area and headed right into the bay to Grand Bess, the famous bird island. There were at most three boats in the bay area. They were just riding around but they could have been looking for oiled birds??? There was dark red and black oil in the waters of the bay. When I looked for the first time at Grand Bess I was shocked. The outer booms had come apart in two different places and in another area, the boom was sinking. The inner soaker boom was totally saturated in oil and needed to be changed. The saturated booms were on the rocks where pelicans were sitting, floating haphazardly or sinking, twisted around, and laying over the outer boom. I looked around me and thought again… Where are the people BP has hired to oversee and maintain this boom? Where are the people they hired because, as far as I could see in every direction, there were at most five boats in the entire bay. No one was working on boom so this island was going to remain unprotected the entire night with black oil already floating near the outer boom. As we rode around the island I saw some oiled birds and it tore me up inside to feel so helpless. I also noticed there weren’t near as many birds on the island as there were less than a month ago. I saw some babies still with their mothers and wondered if they would survive. I began to wipe the tears from my eyes as I photographed the oiled pelicans. The Captain kept repeating, “Don’t worry, I won’t cry in front of you”. After we circled the island, we headed back in.
After personally struggling through the Katrina aftermath, I know how hard it still is five years Post K. To then go through this, I cannot fathom the depth and breadth of the emotions these residents feel. I am still so angry today and they are there watching this every day. One resident told me he quit watching TV because of the Tony Hayward commercials. Every time he saw one he wanted to smash or throw something at the TV.
There doesn’t seem to be a strong chain of command overseeing and holding Tony Hayward accountable when it comes to the day to day clean-up. Someone should have reported the boom and it should have been changed and properly placed around the island. This is an example of how unprepared BP will be when the tides change and bring the oil back in, which is already happening. But why am I surprised? They haven’t been prepared for anything for 51 days now.
So… either Tony Hayward is a sociopathic liar and could care less about the people of the Gulf Coast, or he has deceived himself into believing people are out here working every day. I don’t know… You make the call. I am just reporting what I saw this day.
peace out America