BP? Big Profit – Big Pain

So, there I was a month ago, minding my own business, when a bubble of gas was released one mile below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico, about 75 miles SE of my home, and floated up a riser, causing an explosion, taking 11 lives and injuring untold numbers of people on a huge drilling rig that was not even anchored to the ocean floor, but was floating above held in place by Global Positioning.

Once again, life as I know it in the wetlands of South Louisiana is being threatened.  The beauty that I share with you on an ongoing basis hangs perilously in the balance as I type these words to you.  The crude oil, called Louisiana Sweet, is boiling up from the center of the earth and barreling from a pipe into the salty depths of the Gulf, one mile down.

The oil, carried by the currents, goes wherever it is taken.  It has no will of its own but to flow and float and land where it will upon any waiting shoreline.  At first, it looked as though it would land along all the sandy beaches of the Eastern Gulf, where it could be cleaned up.  Then it swirled toward the west and slowly made its way to the shores of Louisiana where there is no sand to filter the oil.  There is only innocent marshland, beautiful spartina blowing in the gulf breezes, unknowingly about to be tainted forever.

For a week now, Governor Jindal has been screaming for permission from the Army Corps of Engineers to dredge sand from the Gulf to build our barrier islands up six feet to form an absorbent hedge against the oily predator–to no avail.  The Army Corps  is doing what they do best, which is to play the “Environmental Impact” card on the tabletop of red tape and bureaucracy.

Can any US government law be more ridiculous than that?  For God’s sake, people, what will be the environmental impact if you wait long enough for the oil to reach our marshy shorelines?  Because reach the shore it will, and with the latest landfall yesterday at Grand Isle and Fourchon Beach, and a westward current, the lower edges of Terrebonne Parish sit, with arms wide open, welcoming the thick, brown onslaught.

And the president (who shall remain nameless) could sign an executive order giving our governor and this state the permission and the go ahead and command the Army Corps to do this for us.  And folks, I’m here to tell  you that there is more at work than meets the eye.  Say what you will, but if this had occurred off the Eastern seaboard or West Coast, the Feds would have sent a team of Navy Seals down there with a rolls of Duck Tape to take care of that pipe quicker than you could have said BIG OIL.  Yes, I’m being angrily facetious, but what do you expect?

After a whole MONTH, yes a month, of oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico, you must ask yourself WHY is the Federal Government not forcing BP to fork out the $350 million to build up our islands to protect our estuary system.  Why?   All I can come up with is that the president and the collective national government do not care about the coast of Louisiana, the coastal peoples, the sea life, the estuary, the plant life, or the wildlife.

Already the Bayou People have spent their anger; their pleas falling repeatedly upon the seeming ears of the robotic.  For if they heard with human ears and heart, action would have been immediately forthcoming.  Alas, dear friends, such is not the case.  We sit like ducks in a pond on opening day, except that we know what is coming–the ducks and other wildlife have no clue.  What should we do?  What will we do?  What in the whole wide world can we do?

This has been a terrible week for me.  If you have followed this blog for at least six months, you will know by now that my family suffered twin hurricanes in 2005, and then again in 2008, and now this.  I made the mistake of watching the national news yesterday evening and the local news at bedtime.  I had nightmares last night, and this morning, I found myself much closer to the edge of that slippery slope of depression, hanging on by my toenails.

I even went to my thyroid doctor the day before yesterday to see if maybe my thyroid meds needed to be upped since I’m having a hard time functioning.  The lab drew my blood, and the phone call came hours later:  “Mrs. B., we regret to inform you that your thyroid levels are within normal ranges.  You are suffering from severe stress-related fatigue, and would you like something to help you sleep or cope?”

Uh, no thanks, because Handy Friend is driving down this weekend to help with finish work in the Miracle Bayou Tree House and I have to help, and we start work at 6 a.m. and work until about 6 p.m. and I can’t be on drugs.  I’m not a basket case.  And I thought of about a thousand other reasons including “This can’t be happening to me.”

But it IS happening, and it’s happening at a time when I should be giddy happy over being just about finished with our new house, that I lovingly call our Miracle Bayou Tree House.  It has been a long Road Home since the floods of 2005 and 2008; and with the new house 11 feet above the ground, I should be jumping for joy that we don’t have to worry about a 9-foot storm surge flooding our home again this hurricane season, which starts June 1, our projected move-in date.

But BP stole my joy, and I am not happy with them–not one little bayou bit.

My businesses are losing money; ergo BP owes me money.  Of course, I’m not the only person due compensation, but I’m one of many.  At the strong prodding of a local public official, I filed a BP Loss of Income claim online this morning for Camp Dularge and then headed to the BP claims office in town.

With my incorporation documents and Profit and Loss for April through May of 2009 and 2010 for comparison in hand, I entered the door of the BP claims office and waited in line behind commercial fishermen.   When it was finally my turn, the mean lady rejected me because I didn’t have a claim number.  Seriously?  “Yes, seriously.  Go check your email (no, I don’t have that IPhone yet) and see if you have a claim number, because  I can’ t help you with out one,” she said curtly.

I drove the twenty miles back home, and still, the claim number was not in my email box or junk box.  Finally around 4 p.m., a lady from BP claims called and gave me a claim number, telling me to guard it with my life.

And one more thing:  BP requires one last documentation item:  MY PERSONAL TAX RETURN for 2009.  So now, BP has become just like FEMA and the SBA, requiring my tax return?  Someone please tell me what business BP has with MY tax return?  No business, because it’s NONE of their business.

Now hear this folks, BW will never turn over her tax return to BP.  They can keep their compensation check, and I’ll close the doors on Camp Dularge before I’ll do that.  They caused this disaster, they caused all the havoc wreaked for the past month over it, now I’m suffering mental anguish and having nightmares, (and those of you who know me best need to vouch for me here—I’m pretty dog gone resilient and it takes a lot to whip me), and I’m worried sick about losing my businesses.

BIG PROFITS caused this and they have become a BIG PAIN in the lives of the BW and the Bayou People.  BP needs to say they’re sorry.  BP needs to make it right.  BP needs to write me a check.  BP needs to come sing me a lullaby and rock me to sleep tonight.

Down but not quite out,


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  1. I was wondering when your feelings about all this were going to come out. Prayers for you and everyone else affected by this!

  2. IT’s hard to see a friend in such distress. As I prepare for bed tonight my prayers will be for a successful plugging of the well and winds to take the exscaped oil away from land. And a special prayer for the lord to take care of CBW.

  3. AMEN, SISTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My prayers are with y’all.
    We are going to Grand Isle after church Sunday. Of course, the oil made it to the beach yesterday. Unlike you, the oil hasn’t hurt our wallets (yet) but we’ve been looking forward to doing some surf fishing. We haven’t been able to go anywhere for over a year! We didn’t cancel only because we’ll be visiting with our Pa. friends who come down twice a year to fish, and stock up on shrimp and Community coffee. So, this will be a chat and chew trip! I know this sounds petty in light of the damage to the environment, wildlife and people’s livelihoods, but OUR GOVERNMENT and BP really P*@@ me off! You can book it, I will exercise my right to VOTE in our next National election, even if I have to crawl the 2 1/2 miles to the polling place.

  4. This is not a time to be too stubborn,take your tax return up there,I don’t like it anymore than you do but when they shut down the fishing over here I am going to do it.I don’t plan on going to work for them but I do expect compensation for lost wages and if that means tax returns then so be it.

  5. BW,

    I agree with Ronnie – do what you need to do to get whatever you can from those people.

    And no more of this closing Camp Dularge talk. I need somewhere to stay when I come down to write my muckraking articles about Big Profits. After all, if I win me a Nobel prize we can pay off your mortgage with the prize money. ‘K?

    I got royally p-o’d yesterday after reading the latest glop of a press release and put up my own Personal Message to BP from the Wetlands. It made me feel enough better to get back with the calling and writing Washington. I hope you’re feeling some better, too.

  6. Like the rest of the world, I’ve been watching this mess from afar. It makes me mad, but has no personal connection. You’ve been adamant about going about your business and staying low key.

    Until Now.

    Even though I don’t “know” you, I feel that I do. I’ve followed your trevails for a year and a half. And now I’m pissed off, on a personal level.

    I don’t know what 1 person can do, but whatever it is, it will be done.

    Hang in there BW

    1. Thank you for the encouraging words, Wolfy. I just came from a Sunday morning birding tour with a couple in their sixties. These folks booked a few weeks ago and I had to convince them that they would not see oil on this tour, or they might have canceled as others have done. The tour was gorgeous . .. not a sign of oil in sight . . . but we are only about 20 miles inland from where the oil will make landfall. I woke up sick to my stomach this morning, and I can’t tell you why. The last two trips I’ve had on my boat, I woke up sick both times. I guess it’s just my subconscious way of worrying, because on the surface, I hold it together pretty well most of the time. But you’re right. This is personal. Very, very personal.

  7. I am one of the flat Bug contest winners. I was lucky enough to get the beautiful book on the Louisiana Wetlands. My heart aches for every living thing that soon will be lost to the arrogance of BP. You my friend stay strong. There are so many of us that really care what is happening to you. Each day we follow the path of the oil. We here in Florida are watching and waiting too.

    Thanks to Linda I will keep up with your blog. Your Gov should do what he needs to do to H with the permits. I feel like I am watching another Katrina unfold.

    1. We are in good company, then, Sarah, and thanks so much for taking the time to leave an encouraging post. That’s a pretty good book you own, there, with lots of nice pics. From the time I moved down here in 1978, I dreamed of doing my own picture book of the beauty I see in southern Terrebonne Parish, and now I fear I might have waited too long; except that I do have an archive of thousands of photos. It might be time to pull them out . . . . the governor should say to H with permits and move forward. The Army Corps moves at less than a snail’s pace. I will sign off now in hopes of getting some well-needed rest tonight. Welcome to the bayou and please return. Hopefully, brighter days are on the horizon. BW

  8. Get a good lawyer!Get whatever money you can from those animals! I’m very sorry this happened! Don’t let depression make you stop fighting! Get mad not sad! It’s the only way I know to offset depression.

  9. Followed this link from Shores blog. Hang in there sister girl, like Rw said, don’t get sad, get mad.

  10. I’m really sorry your going through all of this. They are just wanting you to play their game, they know how proud the Bayou people are and that you won’t be the only one unwilling to jump through their hoops. Before you say no and refuse, think about it as it might not just affect you but your neighbors too. I would be livid to have to give them my personal information like that but I’d bet that they are hoping a lot of people wont do it. Good luck, my friend, you have my email if you need to talk.

  11. I don’t know exactly what we can do to help from so far away, in Michigan. But I can say for sure that you and your blog have made many many of us in the country connected to your dire situation at a personal level. I agree with two of the ideas floated out in the comments: get what you can from BP, just on principle if nothing else. And take action! You’re so good at it!! Don’t get bogged down in depression and stomach aches. Just focus on your next goal and give it your best shot! We’re all rooting for you, BW, and for the Wetlands..

  12. I’m sorry I haven’t been able to read this until now… I know there’s not much I can do for an oil spill (why haven’t they just capped it?!?! I don’t understand the hold-up or hang-up, especially if it’s only a mile down?), but can I do something for you to help you feel better? Love you, Mommer…

  13. Just wanted to say, we are in Grand Isle where the beach and the Bay are closed. They even closed the campground’s “Lagoon” this morning. We were waiting for a bit of tidal movement before launching the Porta-Bote when word came down that it too was off limits after some oil was spotted. We took a little tour and observed PILES of Oil Boom materials just stacked up at Sand Dollar Marina. They are doing as much good as the the ones in the pass ( Caminada). They’re doing nothing as far as I’m concerned. Common sense tells me if you want to keep the oil out of the bay, you stretch it ACROSS the mouth of the Pass. But, what do I know. I’m not an expert in oil recovery. About the only oil I’m familiar with is “cooking”, 10/30 and 10/40. I do know if I spill it, I’ve got to clean it up, and do it FAST so people don’t get hurt.
    We’ll be heading home in the morning. No fishing, no crabbing…not even any to buy. (I checked this morning.)
    The best part of this trip is being able to visit with our Pa. friends. Oh yeah, BW, you might be interested to know we spotted several roseate spoonbills flying over today.