NEW ORLEANS – Five years ago to the day, a deadly explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon set off the largest oil spill in American history.
On this 5th anniversary of the BP oil spill, marchers took to the streets in five Gulf Coast cities, including right here in New Orleans, to bring awareness to the ongoing effects of the spill.
Name by name, a white rose was placed in the water to remember the 11 crew members who died in the Deepwater Horizon explosion that day.
For marchers, who took to the streets of the French Quarter, Monday's demonstration was just as much about the past as it is the future.
"The bottom line is that we haven't recovered from this disaster and we are going and drilling in deeper and dark places, and our ability to respond is nowhere near our ability to extract," says Jonathan Henderson with the Gulf Restoration Network.
"$500 million in BP commercials has the world believing everything is OK," said George Barisich, the president of the United Commercial Fishermen's Association.
Barisich said he's proof the Gulf Coast is far from OK. He has been a commercial oyster farmer and shrimp fisherman for 30 years, but now he said he is being forced to give up his livelihood.
"I am depressed because I can't go do what I used to do," Barisich said. "I was going to end my life on my shrimp boat, and now I have to take shrimp tours. I'm going into a new business, overnight shrimp tours."
While BP said there has been no significant long-term impact to the wildlife or Gulf Coast communities, Marchers like Barisich tell a much different story about the recovery.
"We just left Davant, Louisiana, where fisherman say they haven't been paid and we just saw post on the Gulf Restoration Network that there is still oil coming ashore," said Colette Pichon-Battle, who is with the Gulf Coast Center for Law and Policy. "The goal today is to make sure the nation knows the truth. That BP tells the truth."
Still, it is not just the wildlife and the future of our seafood industry that is a concern.
"What I am worried about are the people that didn't get any health payments," Barisich said. "Who is going to pay for that bill? Me and you. It's going to come out of our tax dollars and people are sick for no reason."