“The Big Fix” Premieres Friday Hosted by The New Orleans Film Festival

The Big Fix premieres this Friday as part of the New Orleans Film Festival. This documentary film details the massive government cover-up which has taken place in the wake of the BP oil spill.  There will be a press conference at 2 pm at the Contemporary Arts Center before the film is shown. The entire schedule for the festival can be found on their website.

NOLA Noteworthy

OK, boys and girls, here is the next installment of NOLA Noteworthy, my personal picks of the best from local blogs and websites that I’ve read in the past week, in no particular order.

  • Season 2 of Treme begins April 24 and the Nola-based blog Back of Town is awakening from it’s between seasons slumber. If you haven’t read this blog you’re missing out on a nice forum for local chatter and background information that you won’t read anywhere else. Check it out.
  • Speaking of Treme, my choice for local blog quote of the week goes to  Cliff’s Crib (referring to this brouhaha):
    “I want to tell David Simon and the folks connected with Treme that even though the mayor went ahead and demolished the block of blighted houses featured on your promotion pictures that you shouldn’t worry. We have dozens of blocks like that. You can choose a new one for each individual episode if you want to. ”  Word.
  • Editor B. over at B.Rox gives an update about the design and construction of the Lafitte Corridor greenway, a project he’s been involved with for five years now. In the following post, Hike Report 2011, he gives a first-hand account of this years’ Lafitte Corridor hike.
  • Disenfranchised Citizen posted yet another of his hard-hitting, no holds barred opinion pieces on the continuing disaster that is the aftermath of the BP oil spill, And So It Begins: Year 2.  Drake has become the go-to man for late-breaking, well researched and concise  information regarding all issues related to the Macondo spill. Keep your eyes on that space.
  • Architecture Research posted an interesting piece, with photo,  about the Cultural Center for New Orleans that was proposed in 1963. In part it reads, “With an estimated cost of $18 million, the plaza was to extend from the Orleans-Basin Connection to St. Philip Street, and from N. Rampart to N. Villere Streets. Widespread site clearance began in 1966, after the relocation of 122 families. Hampered by financial shortfalls, the CC was delayed and eventually abandoned. “
  • That Cultural Center post puts me in mind of another not fully funded project that has relocated families in Nola. Inside The Footprint talks about and  links us to recent comments made by State Treasurer John Kennedy about the financing for the proposed University Medical Center hospital in lower mid-city.
  • I recently discovered a new blog – well, new to me – called Riverside and instantly fell in love. It has got to be one of the most complete resources I’ve ever seen for all things New Orleans. It has everything from where to eat in Nola to where to shop to a list of local blogs to local music, art and videos to upcoming events, etc, etc, etc. I particularly like a video he posted which is a great snapshot of life in One Square Mile (around 4th and St.Charles) of the city and the people who live there. So cool.

Do you have a favorite story from a local blog you’d like to share? Just email me at nolafemmes at gmail dot com and we’ll publish it on NOLA Noteworthy with your name.
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Thousands of Gulf Coast Residents Sickened by Effects of Oil Spill

The following post was originally published April 12 on local blog American Zombie.

More Cries for Help

Last Saturday I spent the day at Dr. Michael Robichaux’s farm in Raceland talking with well over 60 offshore workers, fisherman, and family members who are experiencing extreme health effects from the BP oil spill.  Many of the workers who came into direct contact with the oil and the dispersant, Corexit, are experiencing similar health problems ranging from mild sypmptoms to life threatening conditions.  It’s not only the men who were out on the Gulf during the spill that are sick, family members are experiencing health problems as well.  Even people who swam in the ocean are stricken.

While I can’t confirm this number, I am told by folks monitoring the issues that they estimate thousands, if not tens of thousands, of people along the Gulf Coast from Louisiana to Florida are suffering.   Some are experiencing mild symptoms such as asthma, nausea, and headaches, while others are suffering extreme health issues such as internal bleeding, paralysis and even death….yes death.

The following video is a testimonial from Louisiana charter boat captain, Louis Bayhi.  It’s 6 minutes long and I implore you to watch the entire thing:

Capt. Louis Bayhi – Charter boat captain and BP clean up worker experiencing severe health problems from Blackbird Media on Vimeo.

Louis was one of over 40 fisherman I spoke with on Saturday who is gravely ill.  All of these fisherman confirmed to me that the Gulf is still full of oil and dispersant is continually being deployed….including areas which have been deemed safe for seafood harvesting.

There are more testimonials coming….please help spread this message…please help spread the truth.  The nightmare BP left us with is not over, in fact it may just be starting.  The MSM is not going to report what’s happening, but I implore you to dig deeper and don’t trust what you are being spoon-fed.

I fully expect to get attacked on the seafood issue but my response is fire away…I just spoke with over 40 guys who are out there every day and their concerns have now become mine.  I will take their word over anyone.

Check out the LEAN – Louisiana Environmental Action Network website for more information.

World Wide BP Protest Day July 10

New Orleans, USA – Worldwide BP Protest Day – 10 July 2010

Saturday, July 10, 2010

6:00pm – 8:00pm

The steps next to Cafe du Monde

748 Decatur St.

New Orleans, LA

This is the New Orleans Chapter of the Worldwide BP Protest Day where we will unite in voice with dozens of major cities around the globe. The purpose of this event is to peacefully demand better legislation that seizes power from the oil companies and corporations who have been ravaging our homeland for decades. We will unite to demand justice and accountability for the destruction of our environment and for the physical and psychological damage inflicted upon our families, friends, and loved ones.

These atrocities cannot continue. Let us join forces on July 10th to let our voices be heard. Attend and invite all your friends. We CAN save the GULF. We CAN save the CITY. We CAN save the PLANET and we CAN save OURSELVES.

It is requested that if you can’t make the New Orleans Event in person, you find 5 other people to take your place, whether it be locally or in one of the other cities participating.

Local starter: Lauren Goldfinch

Information on Global Event, including participating cities on our FaceBook page.

After the protest the Krewe of Dead Pelicans will proceed to Molly’s where we will be greeted by the music of the Pair ‘o Dice Tumblers.

Hope to see y’all there!

Twitter @ww_bp_protest

Art & The Oilspill

Here’s Banksy’s Priest’s reply to the oilspill. Boos & hisses to @verbz on Twitter for attributing this to Banksy. Boos & hisses to me for being gullible.

Update: There’s some question whether this work is indeed that of Banksy. I’ve attempted to contact him & will let you know if I receive a reply.

Update 2: Have learned from a reliable source that this is indeed the work of Priest and so have amended title & commentary. My apologies. This, boyzngrrlz, is what happens when one acts before verifying.

Thoughts from the Gulf

It’s a very difficult time for us down here in Southeastern Louisiana. Between trying to get viable options to stop the oil from spilling into the gulf, to the profane, black sludge reaching shore – the uneasiness in the air that is a combination of bad memories, distrust, anger, fear and insecurity. We look towards our leaders in local, state and national government to offer to us honest answers, yet they remain elusive, hidden away on a need to know basis for everyone but the people who have to live here and endure the impacts the oil spill is going to have as it kills our sea life, wrecks havoc on an ecosystem still trying to stabilize from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, enters our water system as it slowly works it way to shore. Families feel lost, having passed this tradition of shrimping or commercial fishing down generation to generation, afraid that the tradition and culture will die with their generation. In a job market where there are already too many searching, the financial impacts this has on everyone in this region is not only a frightening thought, but seems to now be inevitable.

The father that has to go home to tell his child that work is not there, the single mother that barely gets by finding that things are going to get harder now as hotels are being called for cancellations and not reservations and beaches close, for us in Southeastern Louisiana, this isn’t just about a corporate responsibility or about company oversight. This is our lives that  hang in the balance, out of our control, leaving us filled with an uncertainty that no one in one of the superpowers of the world should have to feel. Our environment here is apart of us, from the marshes in Plaquemines Parish to the Mississippi to Lake Pontchartrain to the Honey Island Swamp to the beaches of Grand Isle, these places make up our communities and homes, our neighbors, our memories.

The political is always personal, but this is especially personal.

As I sit writing this, gallons of oil stream into the Gulf of Mexico, poisoning part of the 40% of the seafood that comes from the state of Louisiana. The husbands, fathers, grandfathers and sons that fish this area sit at home, wondering if all hope is lost. Unsure whether or not to file a claim with BP for $5000.00. Part of signing a deal with the devil, however, is that you sign away the devil’s responsiblity in this mess, giving him a get-out-of-jail free card, allowing the bad practices that helped cause this mess go unpunished. What is better, they question, the money now – which for many will barely pay their bills for a month – or holding out, waiting to see what will come as more information becomes available about cause, effect and damages.

In a city known for its food, surrounded by beautiful bodies of water,  questions now weigh heavy on the minds of servers, bartenders and chefs. Some are finding their hours cut, businesses cutting back because sales simply aren’t what they should be this time of year while others begin trying to figure out what else they can do in a city where jobs aren’t many. Serving in New Orleans isn’t like serving in high school or college.  It’s a tourist city. In this city, it is a career – and a well-paying one at that. Teachers, lawyers and accountants have left the industries they chose to educate themselves in to give a smile to the family that travels down from the mid-west, excited to see what all the noise about New Orleans is really all about.

As five years separates those here for Katrina from the anxiety that horrific time caused, we face another tragedy. I know we are strong. We are family. No matter the strength, the what-ifs and the how-comes can make even the strongest fall.

It is said that ignorance is bliss and perhaps there is truth to that. Being here, we are living this tragedy. It isn’t a sound bite on CNN or Fox or an article in the New York Times and the Washington Post. We know what isn’t being reported. We know what is happening behind the scenes – scenes that include journalists being prohibited from filming damaged areas and threatened with arrest, survivors of the explosion being held in seclusion and brow-beaten until they sign no liability clauses for BP,  politics as normal in Washington – – giving $205 million dollars to Israel in aid for missiles systems as oil spews, pollutes and kills  — and a great majority of people telling us to shut up, to stop having our hand out for money from the government, to accept what has happened without question because, after all, accidents happen even though protocols were not followed and safety equipment wasn’t all that safe.

While people are telling us that being hard on BP is ‘un-American’ we question what America we belong in when corporations become what matter and the consequences of their bad behavior become our consequences, forced upon us without choice.  The us that are good, hardworking people of character and strength that simply want to live life, celebrate it and share it with all those who travel here from around the world for just a little taste of it. Don’t confuse our living out loud as acceptance or our humor as not caring. We are an involved, passionate bunch as can be witnessed on any number of blogs that were created since Katrina when we felt that media left us behind. There comes a point in tragedy, however, where you have to find humor in it or all you are left with is tears. We’ve cried enough tears.

It is my hope that people in other places of this country feel overwhelmed and unable to help because they are not here, instead of being apathetic to the situation. There are many things you can do. Collect non-perishable food items for the shrimpers who are impacted most by this. For a time, they couldn’t even receive food stamps from the state because they made too much money, even though their livelihoods had been lost.  Sign petitions asking for stricter regulations in off shore drilling or for development of alternative energies. Contact those in your states and ask them to care about ours. Buy t-shirts made by local vendors, where profits go directly towards animal rescue efforts. Pass on news about what is happening here. In the age of twitter and facebook, you tell one person and they tell another and perhaps, maybe enough pressure can be generated for our government to stand up and see us reaching out for them to help, perhaps they will reach back through legislation or even a tougher approach with those companies involved in this disaster.  Stay aware of the situation. Contact BP and express your outrage and your ire.

 We aren’t asking the rest of the country to rescue us. We are, however, asking you to care.

We’ve taken a beating down here. Some question why we live here, knowing the potential of loss. It is an argument that often used after Hurricane Katrina and it is an argument being recycled now. The levee failure in Nashville shows that the disasters we have faced can happen anywhere, even in middle America.  Although at times it can feel like we live in our own third world country down here, a reference we make jokingly, please dont’ treat this as such. This impacts you, too. 

Don’t watch from afar as disaster tourists. Don’t make us tragedy porn.

 If it were you, we would be there, doing what we could with what we had, opening our hearts and telling you we too know tragedy and we understand.