Monday, June 21, 2010

The Outrage will increase... orders of magnitude now that the white, pristine beaches of the Redneck Riviera are being tarnished.  Pictures like these will start to weigh heavily on the blue collar workers who bring their families to the Florida panhandle every summer.


Anonymous said...

YEa.. who cares if those people in south La. are affected every day for the rest of their lives.... but.. WOW.. the place I go for 3 days a year is oily !!!!!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I’ll tell you who cares about the people of Southern Louisiana. In my redneck, blue collar world in Southeast Missouri, it’s my co-workers, our customers, my relatives, friends, you name it. Even those that may head for Panama City every summer with the kids, are too upset about the oil covered birds, dying marshes, threat to your culture and families whose lives have been turned upside down to give a rat’s ass if their favorite white sand beach is covered in tar balls. Don’t sell these people short - this is not about ruining their vacation plans. They get it. Many of them make their living off the land, and understand very well that no matter the size of any escrow account, much of the damage that has been or will be done cannot be fixed. I’m sure there are those that are only worried about where the oysters will come from for their next cocktail party, or their investments in fossil fuels. But it’s not these people. They are on your side – every single one I know. I’m a little surprised you didn’t know that, Dambala.

Jason Brad Berry said...

Anon 2:34,

First of all, let me start off by saying I am from your area of the country and I consider myself blue collar and from redneck roots. I was not taking a swipe at "Middle America", I was merely pointing out that seeing the beaches of Destin and Panama City covered in oil, will bring it home for 100's of thousands of middle class Americans who vacation in the Florida panhandle every summer.

My father was a union worker in a paper mill my whole life, I am very proud of that. My brother works in that same plant now. They make more money than I will ever make in my life, and I'm proud of them for that. I spent many, many summers of my childhood in Panama City and those beaches are near and dear to me as well.

As a Louisianian, we struggle with a perception in American that we don't really matter. Our coastline is being depleted at the rate of two football fields every hour, and our livelihood and way of life is evaporating with it. We supply 30% of the country's energy supply, 70% of the estuaries that spawn the sea life in the Gulf and over 30% of the actual seafood delivered to American supermarkets and restaurants, 90% of the diesel refineries in the country lie on the Texas/Louisiana border, and almost all of the petrochemical plants in the country that create the plastics that secure our food supply.

Make no mistake...we are as "blue collar" as Southeast Mo.

The reason I point all this out is because we knew from the beginning that when the oil overtook the pristine beaches of Florida, all the attention would shift towards those tourist destinations and the cameras would be turned away from the muddy shores of Louisiana. That is happening as I write this.

As an analogy, we are the red-headed stepchild of the gulf coast. We do most of the work and take the majority of the abuse so if we get splattered with a bucket of shit, somehow it seems like we deserved it in some sadistic way. If that shit splatters on our beautiful sisters, it's a shocking tragedy.

You have to understand the abuse and hatred this city and area experienced after Katrina. There is a lot of inexplicable contempt for us, so forgive me if I sounded bitter, but I am.

Anonymous said...

People outside Louisiana do care.

A lot of the people who demonstrate contempt for Louisiana are mean for those old basic reasons, jealousy (because New Orleans and the Gulf Coast ecosystems are so special), and guilt.

My mother once said, "People never forgive you once they've hurt you. It is easier to forgive them. You can let it go. But if they know they have been taking advantage of you, or that they have wronged you, they will often stay mad at you, because they don't want to face what they did."

Jason Brad Berry said...

Your mother is a wise woman.

However, the contempt did not come from jealousy, the contempt came from a general disgust for our inability to deal with the wreckage in which the Federal Flood left our city. It came from people passing judgment on our city based on images of looting they were watching on CNN and Fox from the comfort of their recliners in their living rooms, thinking they were immune from such a breakdown in societal law. It came from people who are under the delusion that private companies, particularly insurance companies, actually have their best interests in mind. It also came from a deep seated racism and general hatred of the poor.

It did not come from jealousy.

My point being that if the southern coast of Louisiana was the only state affected by this oil spill, I suspect Rep. Barton's sentiments that 20b escrow fund set up last week was a "shakedown" would have played much better with the American public. But seeing oil wash up on areas they are familiar with, instead of areas that are crucial to their economic prosperity but not as visually appealing, creates a larger degree of outrage.

Regardless, I appreciate your support and sentiments. I wish more folks in this country recognized what South Louisiana means to this country and how perilous our situation is right now.

Anonymous said...

I don’t see that contempt you speak of here in Midamerica. Unless you’re talking about for those that allowed busses to sit empty, when lives could have been saved, or politicians that misused dollars that could have helped your city rebuild and bring people back home. Contempt is putting it mildly when you’re talking about the callousness of a politician, who in the wake of the double whammy delivered to the people of New Orleans, was concerned only with the balance in his campaign fund.

Let the New Madrid Fault produce that big earthquake in the Midwest and I’m sure you’ll see more looting on CNN, and sadly just as many atrocities as we all saw with Katrina. What you might not see is so many with the passion you people have for your city, and the level of determination to return and rebuild. So many of us envy you red-headed stepchildren.

Anonymous said...

I live in the south, but not near any water. I used to live in Florida so the oil washing ashore there feels like a physical assault. It's almost too hard to think about and yet, I never stop thinking about it.

Rest assured that America loves Louisiana and is praying daily that you are watched over. Know in your hearts that you are loved.