New Orleans stop

Day 5: Eureka and I were on the road most of the day getting to New Orleans. While out of touch with Captain Gary Burris, we found another emergency council meeting was called with Dr. Riki Ott as the guest speaker. It seems Dr. Ott was at ground zero with the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska and wanted to make sure the same mistakes aren’t made down here when negotiating with the oil companies. She bought a one-way plane ticket because she suspects, as we all are at this time, this is a slow-moving train wreck. It feels like we are all at a wake, lamenting about the past when environmental laws were still respected and the Survival of the Seas Society was still well-respected as a watch dog group for the ocean. The damage of the oil spill is still unseen, but the damage to this area from Katrina is still quite visible. The house where we are staying still has the spray-painted FEMA numbers on it and it’s only half finished, like so many of the homes around the 9th Ward. Just as a note, if you want to volunteer to help this area of Louisiana, they need it. The lack of income now because fishing has all been stopped has sent the economy into a tailspin.

Upon arrival in New Orleans, we were greeted by George Barisich, President of the United Commercial Fisherman’s Association. He said for the first time that he can remember, he had to go out begging shrimp off someone to be able to greet us properly with Louisiana shrimp Po-boys. The price of shrimp is already up 50% locally. The United Commercial Fisherman’s Association like the Louisiana Shrimp Association, etc. haven’t recovered financially from Katrina so there is no reserve to help the fisherman live during this transition. Lenny Kravitz came down yesterday to George’s boat to show solidarity and announce a fundraising concert for tomorrow at the Mardi Gras World in New Orleans called Gulf Aid. Tickets are $50 each and Mos Def and Ani DeFranco are among many other performers. If you want to help and can’t make it to the concert, send money to the UCFA at 3413 Don Redden Ct., Baton Rouge, LA 70820. It is a non-profit.

Captain Gary has a lot of information to pass our way but we’re all tired and just trying to assess the situation. We will have a live feed posted with many interviews of locals within days. That is our mission at this point although we might have to go see Kravitz. I’m sure this is just the first of many fundraising efforts. Remember to walk to the grocery store if you can, bicycle anywhere you can and live as if that gas station could become extinct at any moment.

Dotty Oliver Publisher of Little Rock Free Press on facebook.

Mistress of the Misunderstood Book Salon.



Dotty Oliver, author of “Mistress of the Misunderstood,” has won many awards with her alternative paper, The Arkansas Free Press, including the Sierra Club's “Outstanding Environmental Journalism” award and Arkansas AIDS Foundation's “Most Compassionate Media” accolades. After closing the newspaper down during the meltdown of 2008, she started Dottyllama Publishing, which will be dedicated to publishing the history of Arkansas’s alternative culture.