Lest We Forget

The GI Crosses.1.copyright.2a

Today is the sixth anniversary date of the BP Oil Spill off the coast of Louisiana. 

In April 2012, I drove down to Grand Isle to walk the chenier in hopes of seeing and photographing some beautiful neotropical birds.  But before doing so, I performed my island ritual, which is to drive the Island from the west end to the east. As I headed back to the center of the island, I was compelled to pull in and park at a little crossover; and while I knew I would not see any songbirds on the beach, I knew I had to get out and walk over the dune. I had no idea why.

The photograph above is the reason, but I had no clue the 11 Crosses were there until I crossed over the dune and looked back over my shoulder.

There are no appropriate words to describe the things I felt when I first observed these crosses.  There was a hushed silence on that beach; I didn’t even register the sound of the surf or the gulls.  Only silence.

These crosses bear the names in memoriam for each of the 11 people who died on the Deepwater Horizon at the Macondo Well in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010. 

This was an unnecessary tragic loss of life caused by bad decisions, miscalculations, shortcuts, and human error.  That’s the nicest way I can describe what happened leading up to this blow out.  

Make no mistake:  I am not against offshore drilling.  If I had a choice, I’d prefer that over inland any day because of the destruction to our coastal marshes that we live with every day as a result of inland drilling.  

I’m not against petroleum.  As I’ve said a hundred times on tour:  “Heck, we can’t even brush our teeth with a little plastic toothbrush without petroleum products! (And that list goes on and on up to not being able to fuel our vehicles or heat our homes)”  

I am FOR a safer drilling environment.  

I am FOR inspections of deepwater rigs making sure that the blow out preventer is there and functional and that alarm systems are NOT set to “bypass”.

I am FOR not taking shortcuts that reduce expense and raise profit.

I am FOR slowing down and paying the price for safety, because oil companies can afford to slow down.  (They make the biggest profits in the nation, don’t they?)

I am FOR people going to work on offshore rigs knowing that every precaution is being taken to protect human life.

Please take a moment today to remember the surviving families of these 11 who went to work, trusting they were safe, but never returned home.

Be forewarned, there is a movie coming out Sept. 30th called Deepwater Horizon.  I’ve only seen the trailer, but a very close friend of mine who is still writing the stories of those who died assures me that the production company attempted to portray the facts in this film.  We shall see . . . . .

Meanwhile, pick some dewberries, make some cobbler, and let me know how good it was!  


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  1. Time passes and events fade to the recesses of our mind. Thank you for the photo and reminding me of what happened on this day 6 years ago. Loss of life should never be forgotten. I am glad that there is a physical reminder on the beach in memory of the men who lost their lives while working in the Gulf. I will watch for the movie.

    Your recipes remind me of happy memories of picking berries with Mother and then eating the delicious cobblers. She also used to can berries in their juice for eating with her biscuits. What a treat!

  2. With BP still in the news my thoughts often turn to the families of the eleven lives lost that day. Are all the dead turtles showing up on the beach another lasting effect?

    My berries are just now starting to come out. Hope I can beat the birds when they get ripe! And stop my neighbor from pulling up the plants.

  3. So much has changed in G.L. Since that day. We haven’t been down since last Summer, and at that time we noticed a few tar balls on the beach.
    I think about the families left behind when I hear Grand Isle. Sad and senseless tragedy that should never have happened.
    I spied some dewberry plants in the pasture last week when we were riding the property in the side by side, but there wasn’t a single berry on any of them. Not even a green one. Maybe it’s too early for them in that region. Btw, I told Hubby to keep the tractor away from them.

  4. I remember that day vividly because I couldn’t remember which oil company some of my family members and friends were working. Thankfully they were all safe. It’s so sad. So preventable.

  5. I don’t know if I ever shared this with you. A fellow I came to know during that time made a tribute video, using footage of the final capping of the well. It’s tremendously moving. You can find it here.

    I found some ripe dewberries in a pasture behind a fishing camp yesterday. I enjoyed every one.