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    Posted July 1, 2010 by
    Saint Bernard Parish, Louisiana
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Track the oil disaster

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    Kerry, the Sixth Generation Fisherman


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     geoffliving met a sixth-generation fisherman named Kerry at the Catholic Charities Community Center in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana. He described Kerry’s emotions about the oil disaster: 'Hearing Kerry’s story just broke my heart. Proud, good man it seemed, and though he was fighting the good fight, and tried to keep his chin up, I could see it in his eyes: The pain and just crushed spirit was undeniable. This way of life is completely altered or worse gone, now for thousands of fishermen.'
    - zdan, CNN iReport producer

    On Wednesday, we toured a St. Bernard Parish community aid center for fishing families run by Catholic Charities of New Orleans.  There we met several fishermen, including this gentleman named Kerry.  He's a sixth generation fisherman, focusing primarily on crabbing.


    Kerry took time to chat with Jill Foster and I (pictured in the fourth and last photo), and told us a bit about the plight of local fishers.  It was quite a moment, Gulf fishing communities in the United States have gone back generation upon generation. He himself was taught fish by his Dad, as had the previous five generations in his family, a common testimony to the long-term cultural stature of Gulf Fishing as a way of life.


    The cultural impact of taking away a profession for more than year  cannot be underestimated. Kerry could not even contemplate it.  Everytime we brought it up, he said he had to make it through today.  Then the rest will come clear.


    Yet he did acknowledge the possible long term impact of the Deep Horizon disaster: "My father always told me this business was a dying one. But no one imagined it would happen like this."


    He made jokes and smiled quite a bit. Still - though the moment was jovial - you could see the sadness in his eyes. It brought all of the suffering of these fishing families home for me.

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