After a long day of traveling mishaps, Ginger and I finally walked through the automatic doors of the New Orleans Airport and into the sticky heat of Louisiana. This trip has been in the works for two and a half weeks now, ever since I got an email from Katy Hall with a heart wrenching view of oil hitting Grand Isle. For the first time in my life I felt a true connection to an area and a people suffering from utter disaster. If I had never been to Grand Isle or met some of our friends down there these images would have remained on the screen. But I have been there and after three visits to the Gulf with Williams-Mystic I have at least a reasonable understanding of physical and cultural dynamics at work down here. When I see Grand Isle on the news it is not some far off place. Mere months ago I was wading in the water and watching as students reenacted Edna Pontelliers final scene. It was very clear to me and the rest of Williams-Mystic that this oil spill was going to change everything in the Gulf, and most immediately in places that are at the fringes and thus the hardest hit by anything the Gulf coughs up. Our hearts break for the resilient community of Grand Isle as they grapple with a disaster unlike anything they have ever dreamed of. This community knows how to rebuild after hurricanes and does so with remarkable grace. Nobody knows exactly how to deal with this oil and it is truly scary.
Tomorrow Ginger and I will arrive in Grand Isle for a two part mission:
1. Channel funds raised up in New England to the families that need it
2. Record what we see and hear to increase awareness and understanding of what is going on down there
For more information about our fund raising front, please go to: