A View of the Oil Spill from South Louisiana
If you want to know how serious the oil spill in the Gulf is – all I have to do is mention the Shrimp and Petroleum Festival. It’s held every year in Morgan City, Louisiana, and it pretty much sums up two of the most important products that come from these parts.
Shrimp is big down here. If you’ve been to New Orleans, Lafayette, Baton Rouge or any of the small towns that dot the map, you’ve had some of the best meals you’ll find anywhere on Earth. Nearly all of them are smothered in shrimp. Order grits at breakfast and you’re asked if you want shrimp with that. Fried, boiled, or stuffed you better like shrimp. Don’t think people aren’t worried about the shrimp industry – both because of the economy and the gastronomy. There are stories of folks buying a hundred pounds of the crustaceans to cram in their freezers.
I heard a policy maker today say that the oil spill has already reached the Capitol building. He was talking metaphorically, of course, but regulation, safety and oil prices are even hotter topics today then they usually are.
It really is too early to tell what’s going to happen, but this is a disaster that is playing itself out in slow motion. Our local media are doing a good job at reporting what they know. Unfortunately, nobody knows a whole lot right now. A lot of oil is about to gum up the works, but how bad and for how long is anyone’s guess.
The buzz is about who’s going to pay for this mess. Will BP be stuck with the tab, or will it fall to the taxpayers? Will the price of oil go up and benefit the state’s ailing economy? Will the weekend’s forecast of storms accelerate the slick’s progress to shore? We just don’t know. I’ll keep you posted on what the sense from Baton Rouge is. Here’s the shameless plug for Louisiana Public Broadcasting – visit our website for archives of news conferences, media reports and links. It’s at www.lpb.org/oilspill.