A more honest representation of the boot would not erase the intractable disagreements — around global sea level rise, energy jobs versus coastal restoration jobs, oil and gas companies versus the fishing industry — that paralyze state politics, but it would give shape to the awesome stakes, both economic and existential, that hang in the balance. A new map would prove that Louisiana is ready to grapple with the extraordinary task ahead of it. A new map would prove that denial, like the boot, is a remnant of our past.
Once again decisions are made because they don’t want people to be scared:
When I shared my desire to see the map of Louisiana changed with John Barry, the author and instigator of the lawsuit against the oil companies, he was quick to say, “It will never happen.”
He recalled a meeting he attended when he was still on the levee board. It was considering a proposal to install markers around New Orleans showing how high the floodwaters rose during Katrina. Some of the markers would go on levees.
“They came to us because you can’t do anything on the levee without our permission,” recalled Barry, who said the board was supportive of the plan. “There was a guy there from the Business Council [of New Orleans]. He said, ‘This is a bad idea whose time should never come.’ He was worried you were going to scare people.”
It isn’t being scared that puts them off. They don’t care if you’re scared or not. What they care about is what you will do if you are scared enough. Let’s be clear about that.
It’ll take awhile to read but it is well worth it! So much to this story. So complex. So sad. Great article!
Final excerpt, this one regarding Deepwater Horizon disaster:
The mark the oil and gas industry has left on the wetlands was clearly visible out the window of my low-flying seaplane that day in March; the view en route from New Orleans to south Lafourche was of a vast, green-brown maze, the result of the over 9,000 miles of navigation and pipeline canals energy companies dredged in the state’s coastal marsh starting around the turn of the last century. There are also more than 54,000 oil wells in Southern Louisiana’s wetlands and in its coastal waters, and the well-heads and supply boats appeared in increasing density as we approached Grand Isle and Port Fourchon, as did shrimp boats, whose long horizontal trawl nets give them the cast of graceful water spiders.
That’s the other complicating factor here: Around Fourchon, where commercial fishers routinely supplement their incomes working for the oil companies, there is no perceived disconnect between environmental advocacy and support for Big Oil. The fishers I got to know during the 2010 BP drama, all of whom were adversely affected by the disaster, uniformly dismissed the deepwater drilling moratorium on the Outer Continental Shelf following the spill as little more than hypocritical liberal posturing that ultimately hurt working Americans. In the summer of 2010, Nick Collins, a third-generation oysterman, asked me sarcastically over oyster spaghetti in his father’s Golden Meadow kitchen, “Do those people in California ride horses to work?”
There were some who turned against the industry but at the end of the day fully indoctrinated men and women view success as having jobs that pay well no matter what the consequences. We reap what we’ve sown in all accounts.