December 2011

According to a new report, the petrochemical industry in Louisiana averaged one accident per day in 2010.  Here are three stories from that report, written by people who have seen the impacts of oil industry accidents firsthand -- two community leaders who live next to refineries, and one refinery worker.

stan wright at safe harborIt’s uncanny timing. On September 30th 2011, a federal grand jury indicted Stan Wright, the Mayor of Bayou La Batre, Alabama, for stealing from a housing development built for Hurricane Katrina survivors. The very next day, October 1st, residents of that same development faced a rent hike that is forcing many of them to move out.



opprc rallyOn November 29th, a coalition of over 30 local organizations delivered a petition with more than 2,200 signatures to Mayor Mitch Landrieu, calling for reform of Orleans Parish Prison.  Specifically, the petition demanded that the Mayor formally commit to capping the size of the new facility being built by the Sheriff’s Office at 1,438 beds, and that the City Council end the “per diem” budget system for the jail.

paul nelsonIn the latest Hurricane Katrina corruption scandal, Stan Wright, the Mayor of Bayou La Batre, Alabama has been indicted on eight federal counts – including theft, conspiracy, and embezzlement.

Though residents of this small fishing town are upset by their Mayor’s alleged corruption, many aren’t surprised.

Jesmyn Ward of Delisle, Mississippi, recently won the prestigious National Book Award for her novel about "a poor black family living and loving in a rural backwater Gulf Coast town in the days before Hurricane Katrina." In an interview with Julianne Hing of Colorlines, she talks about writing about the "fraught and lovely and important" lives of poor folks and black folks and rural fol

As I write this, I am traveling on a bus to New York to speak at a screening of The Big Fix, Josh and Rebecca Tickell’s powerful documentary about the explosion of BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig that spewed nearly 200 million gallons of Louisiana crude along the coastlines and marshes of four Gulf states, changing the lives of millions. This film is mandatory viewing for those who want to know what really happened on the ground along the bayous and beaches of a coast that is wedded to oil.

Press release from Survivors Village. New Orleans -- Survivors Village, a community group of former St. Bernard public housing residents and their allies, joined forces today with recently evicted Occupy NOLA protestors to successfully disrupt a Sheriff’s sale of foreclosed properties.

BP's newest PR salvo touting its Gulf cleanup hit a nerve with many residents still struggling to get their lives back (one ad captured this BP beach protest in the background). The oil behemoth's slickly produced pleas for Americans to “come on down” to the Gulf where the weather is warm, the food is sublime and the beaches are sparkling clean--at least in the commercials--has long stuck in the craw of people whose shrimp boxes are bare and whose beaches and bayous are sometimes littered with sticky tar balls and bloated dolphi