I haven’t been writing lately, aside from some rather soulless sales and PR gigs. Really I’ve been too sad about the Gulf of Mexico horror and other personal shiz to say much of anything fun and travelly, so I just post pictures and wait for things to change.
Today I read that the BP oil spill has claimed P&J Oyster Co. in New Orleans, the country’s oldest oyster supplier, which had to shut down after 134 years because most of the oyster beds that had been supplying it for generations are dead. The rest are being killed by fresh water being diverted from the Mississippi River in a desperate bid to flush some of the oil away from the shorelines.
This is just one story, one company. Before too long there will be thousands more like it.
Those families down in south Louisiana are among the most decent and wonderful people I’ve ever met: hardworking, tough, fun, smart, creative and expressive. Everything about them is rich and full and lively: their music, their food, their language, their art. And while there are people on earth who probably deserve to be driven into hardship and see their homes turned into a toxic graveyard, it sure as hell isn’t them. Nobody deserves to have one’s heritage taken away, relegated to museums, not died out over time but killed.
That south Louisiana way of life, woven into those marshes and bayous teeming with life — it’s being irretrievably changed, and possibly destroyed forever. As resilient as those Cajuns are, how can they survive a death blow like this? How do you put a price tag on an entire culture? And why, for the love of God, do they keep getting screwed?
See, this is why I don’t write much these days, because I can’t think far beyond this. Next week I leave the country. Maybe I’ll write more then.