Oil pushing into Barataria Bay, other areas in Jefferson Parish

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by Scott Satchfield / Eyewitness News

wwltv.com

Posted on May 23, 2010 at 11:22 AM

Updated Sunday, Nov 3 at 1:38 AM

LAFITTE, La. -- About 30 miles south of Lafitte, thick, orange colored oil floats on top of the water.

For charter fishing captain Theofile Bourgeois, it's an ominous sight.

"This is the grim reaper for us. You know, for commercial fishermen, for shrimp, for, like me, charter fishing," Bourgeois said. "Bottom line, the flow isn't stopped. So, what we see here, we've gotta deal with it. It's an issue. It's here."

Bourgeois is concerned that, as the tide moves in, it's going to push the oil directly north into Barataria Bay.

"That's gonna come screaming in with a strong southeast wind like that,” he said. “It's gonna be in the north end of Barataria Bay -- in our estuary system."

The oil we found Saturday mostly clung together in big clumps, floating only about a mile from a small island where hundreds of pelicans roost.

A layer of boom -- their last defense.

"(Sunday) morning, when the tide comes screaming in here, and we have a stronger tidal range, it's gonna be an issue, because all these birds -- they all come out here and they bathe, and get ready, and take care of their babies and stuff," Bourgeois said.

As the sight of oil becomes more common along the Louisiana coastline from Plaquemines to Terrebonne, frustration is mounting.

"Grand Isle is mad. Jefferson Parish is mad. Billy (Nungesser) down in Venice is mad. It's just, we're mad,” Bourgeois said.“But I mean, it's here. What'cha gonna do?"

With his community facing an uncertain future, Lafitte Mayor Tim Kerner choked up as he described how deep the impact could be.

"My people make a living, most of them, from commercial fishing. The seafood restaurants, not only in the town of Jean Lafitte, but in New Orleans -- people come over here to eat good seafood from the bayou. Everybody -- these charter fishermen you're looking at today -- they don't have a livelihood anymore," he said.

 

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