Coming to terms with the fate of the Gulf

I grew up on the Gulf Coast, just outside Galveston. My family has been on the island for 6 generations and while there weren’t fishermen our history that I know of, each of us spent many days fishing in the Gulf during our childhood. I have great memories of going down to the piers with my Uncle Dub and cousin Bill along with my brother Christopher and fishing for blue crab to take back to the house for family get-togethers.

Earlier I was listening to a story on NPR that drove a pang deep into my heart. The man speaking said that we will all have to face the fact that fishing will no longer be an industry alive in the Gulf during our lifetime. Can that be true? I am so desperate with hope that it is not.

For me, eating a meal in Galveston means fresh shrimp, po boys, blue crab, and oysters. As I’ve grown older, I’ve loved that the food we ate growing up was delivered by men (and perhaps some women) who got on their boats, fished for it, brought it back to the piers, and we ate it. I always  loved how “mom-and-pop” it all was. It wasn’t just a meal, because seafood in the Gulf Coast region is more than food, it’s a way of life. Fresh seafood is a non-negotiable ingredient to family gatherings. I can’t recall a time when we all got together and there wasn’t a batch of shrimp etouffee or crab gumbo mixed up.

I cry to think of the animals suffering and the untold millions who have yet to meet their fate as a result of the shameful BP oil leak disaster. -That’s an entirely different rant. But for me, now, all I can think of is how angry I am that this greedy corporation has irrevokably changed the very fabric of an entire region. I’m pissed off to my very core in the same way that someone from Washington DC might be if they suddenly realized all of the national monuments were suddenly damaged beyond repair. This is WHO WE ARE. This is our HOME. “We’re sorry” just DOES NOT CUT IT AND NEVER WILL.

I think of my cousin in New Roads, so close to Grand Isle, and the devistation she has witnessed through the past 3 major hurricanes to hit her area. As a former nun, I can only imagine that she has room in her heart to understand the damage that nature can bring. But as a woman who grew up on Galveston Island, I can only guess at the pain it brings to watch the damage unfolding at the hands of careless men. And my Great Aunt, after 96 years in the region…She grew up in New Orleans and has seen it all. Now, toward the last (hopefully many) years of her life, she has seen her beloved hometown ravaged by Katrina and her adopted hometown of many decades seriously damaged by Ike. Hurricanes you can grasp. Destruction by man is unforgivable.

So BP, putting a website up claiming that you’re “helping” the situation and putting sappy PR spin ads on TV with disingenuous apologies by Tony Hayward, who has no concept about how deep into the soul of the region they have plunged their knife, DOES NOT CUT IT.

There is nothing they can do that ever will.