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Written by Dean Flewwellin   
Friday, 25 June 2010 04:23

Living in the middle of "The Great Gulf Gusher Of 2010" is akin to watching a Broadway play with a beach replacing the stage.   We live only 30 feet from the base of our new thirteen foot levee, and can even hear the "actors" as well as all of the vehicles.   There is a working mixture of National Guardsmen, Coast Guardsmen, and British Petroleum (BP) "Tar Baby" workers - which also includes Mexicans.
During the whole week in June, we have seen very few sightseers.   They walk over the levee, onto the beach, take a few photos - then leave.   Nobody in authority has been chasing them off of the beach, as there are not enough of them to get in the way of progress.   However, the top of the new levee has a flat top, about 12 feet wide, which is a great spot to sit and watch this adventure unfold.

With all of these young healthy men on the beach, we never saw any ladies in bikinis.   However, one did a fast exercise walk on top of the levee in short shorts, but as I watched them through my great binoculars, nobody even yelled or whistled.   To be fair though, one of the guardsmen was actually a guards woman (with Dolly Parton sized boobs, I might add).

An Army plow is building a three foot high wall/berm on the beach, about thirty feet from the high tide mark, running parallel to the Gulf - for about seven miles.  It looks like a baby levee!   On the Gulf side of the berm, National Guardsmen utilize a flexible tube to suck seawater to fill the two orange booms - then lash them together.   Metal poles are pounded into the beach next to them, then what looks like a giant black garbage bag is unfolded for a hundred feet and attached to the poles.   So now we have several defenses against the impending oil slick.

There is a myriad of Army trucks kicking up dirt and dust, as they growl towards their destinations.   Humvees, Jeeps, pickups, panel trucks, troop carriers, and tankers decorate the beach.  BP, Coast Guard, and local vehicles also travel the beach - possibly in a supervisory capacity or just killing time.

Army, Coast Guard, and sightseeing helicopters fly very low parallel to the beach about every half-hour - all day long.   We don't see the normal daily helicopters flying the oil rig workers to and from their rigs - and wonder why?   Also out of the norm, are several large jets, twin-engine planes, plus large and small seaplanes cruising very low over the beach.   Probably more sightseers!

About 5 miles directly south of our camp was one of those huge oil rigs, almost as large as the Deepwater Horizon that exploded.   It had been there only a few months, but as we drove over the bridge, we couldn't see it rising out of the Gulf like a sky-scraper.    It was there the week before we arrived, and we wondered if the gusher and the worldwide negative reaction to this major calamity - forced them to "get the Hell out of Dodge?"

The National Guardsmen  actually worked nights, under four mobile generator units with those strong halogen lights on a pole - which can be elevated from horizontal to vertical position easily.   They are bright enough to see them picking up those tiny "Tar Balls" at 3 am.   Hey...it was warm with a breeze on our "Poop-deck!"

We are still seeing many birds flying around, but not as many seagulls.   Nine seagulls stayed with us for the whole week we were at the camp, and enjoyed a few loaves of bread, cheese balls, cherries, and beef jerky.   The little birds scarfed up the bread, kiwi's and tomatoes.   Most of the birds appear to love oatmeal, grits, and outdated yogurt.   We now know that they LOVE cheese balls, as there were several bird-fights over them.

There were a dozen tents set up on the beach, 4 of them with blue and white stripes - which Cajun's call "party tents".   They give shade to the workers who are working in 95˚ heat with up to 112 on the heat index.   The shade in the tents is still too hot, especially when the offshore winds are calm.   We heard that they are working fifteen minutes on, and fifteen minutes off. However, the high temperatures have caused eighty worker's to become sick.

We have seen a whole lot of standing around and lolly gagging!   The Guardsmen seem to have a better work ethic than the BP workers, who look like they don't have any motivation. They only fill the large white garbage bags about one-tenth full, presumably to keep the weight so low, that they could pick them up with one hand.   Yep....laziness is an art!

Head coach Sean Payton and quarterback Drew Brees, plus several other New Orleans Saint's Super Bowl Champions, paid a surprise visit to Grand Isle - to sign autographs, and to allow everyone to check out their Lombardi Trophy.   In order to support the efforts here, they announced that they are holding a raffle for one of the Super Bowl rings.   Tickets are only $2 each, but you have to buy $10.00 worth at a minimum.   All of the proceeds are to be given to
the oil spill environmental clean-up.   As of 6-13-10, instructions for buying these tickets have not been put up on the Internet yet.

Actor/Director Kevin Costner has been in the area showing and testing his oil skimming units.   We understand that there are several of these units now operating on the Gulf.   One local entrepreneur has invented a new shot drink that is black and looks like a 'tar ball'.

We have seen all of the major news media network satellite trucks (Fox, ABC, CBS, NBC & CNN) on Grand Isle, with their newscasters giving TV reports from the beach.   Anderson Cooper set up his report about a hundred yards east of our camp.   He was easy to spot, even without binoculars.

Our new bridge from the mainland to Grand Isle has begun construction.  Our present bridge (clobbered by hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav, and Ike) will be utilized as a really great fishing bridge.   This will include lights for night fishing, garbage cans, benches, and possibly tables.   Our really old wooden bridge, which has been our fishing bridge, caught fire recently - so it will eventually be dismantled.

The southern tip of the mainland here was almost wiped out by the aforementioned hurricanes, as most were older/weaker camps.  One section of about thirty camps were simply gone, and only five have been rebuilt since Katrina in 2005.   There is one sad section a few miles north, where three old, brightly painted camps were built close to the only 2-lane highway to Grand Isle.   They were wiped out completely and never rebuilt, with only their small pilings sticking two feet out of the water.

So basically, the feelings of everyone down here in "Cajun Country," and especially on Grand Isle - are considerably stronger than normal.  Two Louisiana State University national football championships recently have helped to soothe the pain, but not nearly enough.   It appears that our whole nation is going to eventually feel the pain and presence from "The Great Gulf Gusher Of 2010" - financially - as well as less seafood on their tables.

President Obama visited Grand Isle twice in one week, but I don't believe that he impressed anyone here with a positive outlook.  Just check out the strong negative comments on the Grand Isle Facebook site.   However, Governor Jindal has impressed everyone by bugging the Hell out of everybody associated with this unnatural-natural disaster.   Residents and businesses are fighting for their lives - as well as their livelihoods.   It's an 'oil boil' here.


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Last Updated on Friday, 25 June 2010 05:37