Yesterday is a day I will not forget anytime soon. I took a boat trip to Raccoon Island, which is about 20 miles south of Cocodrie, with a photog friend of mine Andy Levin. While covering the BP Oil Spill, Disaster, whatever they want to call it, from Venice to Fouchon over the past two months I have seen a lot of s…tuff, but nothing really prepared me for what I saw yesterday……..It is my impression that the farther away the oil has hit, the less attention it gets from BP. Raccoon Island is the largest Pelican Rookery in Louisiana, much larger that Queen Bess in Grand Isle or Cat Island. I have never been on the 2 islands in Grand Isle, but have wondered many times what was on them, besides the dead animals you could see from the boom, or the oiled garbage left on the shores by BP. Something else I have noticed at the Grand Isle rookeries on three visits over a 6 week period is that the population of the birds is declining steadily, specifically on my trip last week when a guesstimate would be a 60 to 70 % decline in mostly adults, leaving the young to fend for themselves in the oil and corexit infested waters. Some of my questions were answered yesterday on Racoon island, where death is everywhere and I mean everywhere, even though visible oil is much less an issue, which concerns me greatly. A lot of the birds that weren’t dead, were obviously poisoned, almost acting drunk and dazed. Some were hardly walking, and some were alive, but lying where they will surely expire, some were actually fighting each other for food(surely contaminated)…….It is really hard for me to believe that nothing can be done to curb what is no less than the extermination of our beloved state bird, along with thousands of other birds and animals. There are not many times where I have just stopped shooting and left….yesterday was one of those day’s.
Additionally today 7-21-10 oday I went down to Cocodrie again, this time with Nancy Parker, who by the way is one of the nicest and real down to earth people I have ever met, and Photojournalist Paul Rogers…….our intentions were to go back to Raccoon Island. Unfortunately we experienced some boat engine issues and did not make it. t some extraordinarily nice guys on this boat and spent some quality time talking with them…..very good people put in an awkward and unfortunate position….They said today was the best day they have had, picking us up, since they started working……They were from everywhere, Grand Isle, New Orleans, Houma…..it was nice to put a face on the workers who I am sure are trying their best, with “hands tied”….The story should run tomorrow night….and we will return…….
See the rest of my coverage from mid may up to date at http://nativeorleanian.com/category/bp-oil-spill/