The steel slats from the bench dig into my legs, and we’re all damp in the air. A thicker layer of water combusts with a breezy diesel, filtering through the odor of overheated trash from the garbage can to my right…and I’m thinking about a few friends who died down here, and the sun’s going low behind down here and I lean back, facing the Mississippi’s crawl towards the Connection, and no matter how I shift, the slats still dig into my legs, my back.
I’m waiting for for the show, that exact moment of darkness when the brown lumps begin their scatter through the grass, humping up the levee to cross the Moon Walk, a run on the sunset when the really big rats exit the stony banks of the river to race towards the Quarter.
One of them used to live in the bar, when I bartended graveyard on Chartres.
And this is just one more shade of the city, the back of the bench digging at my elbows as I listen to the muddy river, as I listen to a rat left behind inside that nearby garbage can, scrambling for traction. It’s pretty close, but I don’t mind too much…a rat’s gotta eat, it’s what they do and the digging, frantic sound reminds me a little of:
Something I mentioned a few days ago, the arguments beginning about the allocation of the fine BP will pay for its oil spill…economy versus environment… and yeah, I get that some people would love to get renovations done for the Port of Mobile, but Louisiana is losing a large section of its, well, of its geographical state. Yes, we all knew that, but a recently released map spells it all out in greater detail…
“A new map produced by the U.S. Geological Survey National Wetlands Research Center has confirmed that during a 78-year period between 1932 and 2010, roughly 1,883 square miles, or 25 percent of Louisiana’s wetlands have been lost to combined elements of erosion due to tropical storms and hurricanes as well as coastal cutting by industry, the construction of certain dams and levees and most significantly the rerouting of major waterways including the Mississippi River following the great flood of 1927 that robbed the region of needed sediment for prolonged survival.”
And not to put too fine a point on it, but:
“Researchers specifically noted the Terrebonne Basin, Breton Sound, Barataria, and communities including Golden Meadow, Grand Isle, Houma, Thibodaux and New Orleans as populated areas of greatest concern.”
Which isn’t to say that other states in the region haven’t lost or aren’t deserving of their fair share of the money…they have and they are, but when the money is allocated, perhaps this time, just this once, politicians will drop the politics in favor of the foresight necessary to truly address a problem rather than commissioning one more study that wastes another few years…
When Ken Feinberg was fending off criticisms of his methodology, he inferred the process was open to alterations should conditions in the Gulf require it so…well, in the case of the oyster business, looks like we’ll soon find out if that was true because for them, the conditions have changed.
With the swelling of the Mississippi River, no doubt many of you are aware of the Bonnet Carre spillway being opened earlier this week, done to release pressure on the levees around New Orleans. Many are also aware the resulting flooding has the potential to destroy the oyster crops…again. The past few years…between the hurricanes, British Petroleum’s spill in the Gulf and the freshwater diversion to combat the spill, all of it has seen people in the oyster business take hit after hit.
Less well known, as a result of the Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, many in the oyster business entered into a part-government, part-private insurance program so when Hurricane Gustav hit, many were able to rebuild and survive with the help of this insurance…so, more flooding on the way due to the Mississippi River and yes, that’s unfortunate but thank God there’s that insurance, right?
With the water diversion to fight the oil spill wrecking the oyster beds, the government determined they couldn’t renew the insurance program because there wouldn’t be enough of a crop. So, with the opening of the Bonnet Carre and in turn the Morganza spillway…any more damage, which in some parts will be considered total…will have to be suffered without the business saving assistance of the insurance this time…
Unless of course, you count Ken Feinberg’s brand of insurance.
And any of you who read this blog regularly will probably realize as far as insurance plans go, Ken’s GCCF policies are about as good as State Farm’s – long on detail and short on payments.
When the GCCF designed their methodology, sure, they were more generous with the oyster workers than others, but with another decimation caused by the Mississippi flooding and a loss of insurance directly attributable to the effects of the oil spill…it would only stand to reason they should now be due additional compensation, as this new blow to their livelihoods will throw off Feinberg’s methodology, thus throwing off the amount he has calculated as final payments to the few people who have so far received them.
Course, it would also stand to reason that if fishermen had damage to their boats while cleaning up the oil from BP’s catastraphuk in the Vessels of Opportunity program that BP would pay to fix their boats too…yeah, but that didn’t happen either.
So once again, we come back to making things right, enough.
And once again, an industry may very well be forced to go back to Ken Feinberg, and ask him to do the morally correct thing by correcting his payment calculations to take into account the loss of this insurance as a result of his employer’s malfeasance.