Town Hall Meeting Take 2: A Return to Lafitte, La.

Residents of this fishing community discuss how they're adjusting after spill.

July 14, 2010 — -- Diane Sawyer of "World News" returned to Lafitte, La., this week to catch up with some of the men and women she'd spoken with two months ago, when the Deepwater Horizon oil leakDeepwater Horizon oil leak was entering its fifth week.

In May, residents of Lafitte expressed a growing anger and frustration over BP's inability to contain the oil spill in the Gulf, and the federal government's response. On Tuesday, about 80 residents attended a town hall meeting with Sawyer at the Griffin Fishing Charter, a local fishing lodge, to discuss the crippling effects of the disaster on their lives and finances.

Watch "World News" on ABC tonight for more of Diane Sawyer's town hall conversation.

Tony Ting is co-owner of Barn Bayou, a canoe and fishing boat rental whose business has come to a screeching halt since the oil began spilling. Ting said he had no hope that all would be well even if tests showed that BP's cap had stopped the leak.

"Even after they cap it and it keeps coming in for a month or two months or three months, we still got to live here. They still got to clean it up. Then they got to try [to] restore. Then we have to convince people that we're not soaked in oil two years from now so they'll come back here as tourists or buy our seafood again," said Ting.

"We all know the reality that everything that has already leaked into the Gulf is going to change our lives drastically. ... So much has already been [done] to us that our lives are drastically changed. The world has been changed," said Ting's wife, Nancy Ting, also attending the town hall meeting.

This is a community that was already struggling before the spill -- recovering from hurricanes that had struck the region and trying to compete against purveyors of cheap, imported seafood.

"Ordinarily, people who live down here, you live with the storms. ... You realize what's going to happen. Water comes in, it goes out, you rebuild your life and thank the Lord," said one man. "If oil gets on our property .... we don't know what we're facing. And that's the big issue that has a lot of people scared. You've got businesses and you've got homes down here that people could lose that have been here all their lives."

No More Shrimp Boils in Lafitte

Town hall attendees shared that they had stopped the regular Saturday night shrimp boils.

"We're doing nothing. ... This time of year, we would have 50 to 100 people maybe coming through here, fishing and BBQing and boiling shrimp and eating shrimp. And we're doing nothing on Saturday night now," said Belinda Griffin, co-owner of Griffin Fishing Charter.

Hurricane Katrina was still fresh on their minds, said local Cathy O'Brien.

"Almost everyone here has been affected with the stress of the unknown and that can cause physical problems. ... We are still recovering from Katrina. There's not one person in this room that has totally gotten over the stress of Katrina," O'Brien said.

The Federal Government vs. BP

"Our governor [Bobby Jindal] had a plan and every time he has tried to implement this plan, the federal government has stopped him," said local resident Rosemary Griffin. "The federal government got in the way instead of helping him or giving him what he needed."

Half of the attendees have been certified as cleanup workers for BP. The out-of-work fishermen take 40 hours of classes to learn how to carry and pick up a boom, dispose of oil and perform CPR.

Residents said they had also received stipends from BP for loss of work.

"I have a house that was gutted to the studs with FEMA [the Federal Emergency Management Agency] and I got a letter saying it was livable," said Eddie Painter, pastor at Barataria Baptist Church. When he talked to BP about his suffering crabbing and fishing business, he said he got a check in two hours.

"I'll tell you, for whatever complaints people may have," said Painter, "BP has been better than our government has."

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