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,