Miss G grew up in Lake Charles, about 20 minutes from the Texas border and about 30 minutes from the Lousiana Gulf Coast. She spent many a Saturday and Sunday boating and fishing with her bubbas and Poppa G, mostly in Calcasieu Lake, which on this map is shown to the left of Grand Lake. Sometimes we'd even take the boat out into the Gulf, but it was really too small if there was much of a swell to the tide.
Anyway, this big oil slick is sure to wreak havoc on the Gulf Coast, and it looks like the Coastal Marshes of Louisiana will bear the brunt of it. I know a lot of people think the Gulf Coast of Louisiana is just a gross muddy swamp, but really, it is an incredibly complex and delicate ecosystem, and home to many, many creatures of value both for their uniqueness and their commercial demand.
On the unique side, the Eastern Brown Pelican is perhaps Miss Ginger's most beloved. When Miss G was a young child, the Eastern Brown Pelican, which is the state bird of Lousiana, was nearing extinction. I remember how excited Momma G would get on the rare occassion that we sighted one while driving near the coast. Through valiant preservation efforts, their numbers have been restored, and they are often seen swooping and diving for fish in shallow coastal waters.
The Blue Crab is the "other crustacean" in Louisiana, perhaps not a well-known as crawfish, but just as delicious! They are boiled or steamed, or included in gumbo, and are the main ingredient in "shecrab soup".
When caught immediately after molting, while the shell is still soft, they are fried whole in a crispy batter. Kind of strange looking, I know, but they are quite delicious!
Then there's the mullosk that's pretty much synonymous with New Orleans Seafood, the Gulf Oyster. Like most invertabrates, it filters it's food out of the water, so any pollution will poison them first. They are then eaten by other animals, and the death cycle spirals out of control.
I'm not sure what's going to happen. They say the oil is still leaking, and that the slick is becoming so large that containment booms can't circle it. It could take years to clean up, and it certainly won't be removed by the time the tropical storm season begins. If summer storms, or heaven forbid a hurricane, were to push that mess into the wetlands, they might be destroyed forever.
The Audubon Society has long been a protector of birds and habitats along the Gulf Coast. They are coordinating rescue efforts, but it's going to cost a fortune! Miss Ginger implores interested parties to help by writing a check- any amount would help! Or perhaps even volunteering! The animals are going to need us!
And when you go shopping, be sure to pick up a bottle or two of Dawn dishwashing liquid! You know that's what they use to get the oil off the birds! For every bottle you buy, the makers of Dawn will contribute a dollar to the relief efforts!
Just as Louisiana was getting solid footing after Katrina, this had to happen. Damn, damn, damn, damn, damn!!!!!