After Hurricane Katrina, Grand Isle, La., an island with a population of about 1,500 people, was in ruins. But fishermen there say the BP oil spill is much worse. “Katrina in New Orleans is nothing compared to what this is,” Harry Cheramie says. “This here is totally different. ... How do we help each other? What do we do?"
A blowout preventer burst on BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig on April 20 and started dumping up to 62,000 barrels of oil into the Gulf each day, according to final estimates in the Washington Post. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association confirmed June 23 that massive subsurface plumes existed near the wellhead, some as deep as 4,600 feet.
“We’re fishermen. We’re bottom-draggers,” Cheramie says. “Anything on the bottom I catch, and if that oil’s on the bottom I’m going to catch it.”
Read Patrick Lohmann's full report on the far-reaching effects of the spill here.