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NEW ROV POSTED - Please move discussion to ROV #30, hosted by Nika7k.

You are in the current BP disaster ROV, number 29.

If you'd like to go back to see what we've said in days past, visit the current mothership.

This is where you want to be for discussion, worrying, tearing up, and caring for each other.  It's also where you're welcome to be angry and scream and curse and cry and rant at the criminal negligence and greed that have brought us all together.  Most importantly, though, it's where we can learn from those kossaks among us (I'll not name names for abject fear of leaving one of you out, but you know who you are.) who bring the light of knowledge - sometimes with heat, sometimes without it - and teach us about what's happening beneath our Gulf of Mexico.


You must enter an Intro for your Diary Entry between 300 and 1150 characters long (that's approximately 50-175 words without any html or formatting markup).

It bears repeating: please don't rec this diary. Rec the mothership, here, and volunteer for service there as well.
These diaries are about discussion and asking questions and all those things I mentioned above, but in the past couple of days we've begun adding our own personalities to the ROV diaries. Those of you who know me, or who've read my other diaries, know that I'm a Mississippi girl, born on the water in Ocean Springs, fostered in Biloxi, and raised in Wiggins, twenty miles north of the Port of Gulfport. I've worked with Kemps Ridleys turtles in Biloxi and the native fauna of our saltwater marsh in Ocean Springs. I've worked in three-star kitchens along the coast, cooking and serving our native fauna, and chain restaurants in Hattiesburg, cooking those same dishes with some Zatarians on top as "Cajun style". I've worked on board faithfully-reproduced shrimp schooners while learning, then teaching, the history of the seafood industry. I've told the stories of people with names like Citanovich and Barhanovich who came here to pick crabmeat and ended up building lives on our silty shores.

This wide experience, from marine biology and botany and history, culture, and art, informs the way I think about the disaster as it progresses. I see this disaster in terms of the natural history it's destroying. For when our incubator-marshes and brackish waters are polluted with COREXIT and crude, the only ones who will remember the Gulf as it was are the historians and those who listen to them. As I watch the oil billow out a mile below the ocean I used to sail, I think of the approaching oil plumes in terms of the Slavic, Slovene, Czech, and Croat immigrants whose sweat built our coast. I think of the coast's "glory days," when it was a wide-open, rollicking town, where everything was allowed. I think of George Ohr, the Mad Potter of Biloxi, and Al Young, California's poet laureate, from Ocean Springs. And I recall things I hadn't thought of in years, like this passage from Elizabeth Spencer's introduction to On The Gulf, illustrated by renowned coast artist Walter Anderson.

horn island walter anderson

What was magical about it? In the days I speak of, it did not have a decent beach. Strictly speaking, it was not even a sea coast. The islands that stood out in the Gulf, Horn Island, Ship Island, Cat Island, and the rest, took the Gulf surf on their sandy shores: what we called "the coast" was left with a tide you could measure in inches, and a gradual silted sloping sea bottom, shallow enough to wade out in for half a mile without getting wet above the waist. A concrete sea wall extended for miles along the beach drive, shielding the road and houses and towns it ran past from high water that storms might bring, also keeping the shore line regular. Compared to the real beaches of Southern California, or Florida, or the Caribbean islands, all this might seem not much to brag about: what was there beside the sea wall, the drive along it, the palms and old lighthouses, the spacious mansions looking out on the water, with their deep porches and outdoor stairways, their green lattice work, their moss hung oaks and sheltered gardens, the crunch of oyster gravelling side roads and parking lots. . . why was this so grand?


But soon there was the thrilling smell of salt on the breeze increasing until suddenly there was Gulfport and straight ahead the harbor with its big ships at rest and to either side the long arms of the beach drive stretching east to Biloxi, west to Pass Christian and Bay St. Louis. There were names foreign to our ears, the mystery of those almost foreign places, easy in their openness, leaning toward the flat blue water, serene beneath the great floating clouds. That first thin breath of sea air had spread to a whole atmosphere. There was no place where it wasn't. - Elizabeth Spencer - On The Gulf: Author and Artist Series

Now, on my coast in Ocean Springs, and the coast my Mother loved as a girl in Chickasaw, Alabama, just north of Mobile, there is no place that the scent of crude isn't. It fouls the air and crystallizes my memories of home. I flip back through pictures of me on the Glen L. Swetman, when my feet were solid on the decks of a boat piloted under full sail by the man who built her. In my dreams, I feel the salt air tangling my hair and spotting my glasses, because in my dreams everything is okay at home. And when I wake up, oil is still billowing out of the sea floor like an evil spirit sent to obliterate all I hold dear.


Video Feeds BP Video Feed CNN multi camera view All BP videos WKRG - Mobile/Pensacola Today's Liveblog Diaries Daily Kos Oilpocolypse ROV #28: Hopefully Cutting the Riser - tomtech Links, Courtesy of several kossaks

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Originally posted to khowell on Tue Jun 01, 2010 at 06:47 AM PDT.

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