In Louisiana, President Obama Slams BP for TV Ad Campaign

Obama's visit to Grand Isle differs considerably from last week's trip to the same small coastal fishing town. He made a quick tour of a beach strewn with tar balls last Friday but spent the rest of his three-hour visit talking with political leaders and local officials.

The president today will make a point to meet with residents, individuals and business leaders who have been affected directly by the economic consequences of the spill. Grand Isle Mayor David Carmadelle has put together a group of locals with whom the president will meet.

In the wake of the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history, Obama has been trying to convey presidential action and concern and has promised answers to the American people.

But that has not sheltered him from criticism from television pundits and newspapers columnists, including even his supporters, who have said that the president has shown too little energy and passion.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Obama believed his last visit to the Gulf was "tremendously productive," but that today's trip will include a nod to a dimension that many critics say has been lacking from the president: emotion.

"The president is well aware of the pain and suffering that this accident is causing, and that is why he's asked that we do everything we can," Gibbs said.

Local Merchant on Business: 'We're Done'

Among the Louisiana Gulf Coast locals -- 46 days into the disaster -- is a sense of despondence and frustration at a life rapidly changing, and potentially getting worse by the day.

"I'm not used to not sitting there and doing anything," James Frazier, a construction worker who has been out of work for more than three weeks because of the spill, "Just get everything back the way it was. I don't even have to be better. Just the way it was."

Frazier's company lost its contract to build tourism camps, as once-beautiful Louisiana beaches have turned into beaches covered with tar. He had some thoughts on what President Obama needs to say while in his town.

"He would need to say, 'I'm the boss,' tell BP, 'I'm the boss. You know this is what you all gonna do now. I'm tired of asking you all to do this. This is what you all going to do.'"

Jonathan Ashley, a contractor who has seen what he warns is a "massive slick" on the water, said the worst is yet to come for the people of Louisiana.

"It's four miles wide," Ashley said. "It's over 30 miles long, and it's anywhere's between four inches to a foot thick."

Ashley is responsible for some decontamination cleanup, but sounded resignation.

"There's really not much they can do right now," he said. "It's pretty much just done."

Roy Folse, a commercial seafood dealer, was almost in tears describing how his life has been "ruined" by the situation.

"We're done, we're done," he said of his 35 employees.

"It's not good," Foles said, looking out on the waters that once were his livelihood at the Sand Dollar Marina in Grand Isle, La.

"Everything was good, fishing was good," he said. "Shrimping was good, now it's a totally different thing. It don't look good from here."

What's left for Foles? Like many in this area, he, too, is left wondering.

"Sleep. Wait to die," he said.

Walter Maples, a Grand Isle resident whose family has owned the local grocery store for nearly 30 years, said last week he is worried about his family's livelihood and that of other area business owners.

Page
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • 3
null
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...