Category Archives: Organizations making change

Emerging Views: Chapter Ten, The Premiere at the Frank’s and the Years that Followed

This is one of the posts which is very different from the way things would be if this were and actual book.  If this were a proper book with an actual promotions budget which most readers had bought in advance or at least borrowed from a library that had bought it then I could let this chapter stand without mentioning the next chapter. But in this case I know that only a few readers are reading this text directly from the site at this time. A good portion of those few readers are reading as the texts appear in these blog posts. So it may be that some are relative experts on the local scene. If you are don’t get discouraged by possible inacuracies or near inaccuracies in this chapter’s account of the premiere of Louisiana Story.  The next chapter is a near companion piece and the two together make one more or less complete telling of the  story of the  long remembered premiere.

new courthouse clock going up in Abbeville... at the time of my last post...

new courthouse clock going up in Abbeville…
at the time of my last post…

The town has a life, a memory and a folklore, this book is in a sense a part of that as well. In the conclusion there will be more mention of yet another view of the premiere that has become part of our heritage and reality.  But in terms of this event, these two chapters should make things right in themselves.


The St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Church Where I was baptized, made my First Communion and was wed.

The St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Church Where I was baptized, made my First Communion and was wed.

I am typing this post at the Vermilion Parish Library Main Branch, also the Abbeville Branch which stands at the site of the Old Palms hospital. I wrote and article and took pictures and collected pictures for Bonnes Nouvelles describing both the library and the Palms and how these two histories come together.  In that story there were multiple points of view and multiple perspectives.that is the way history and time works its way out in our world. The Premiere discussed here was in a sense celebrated as a key event in Abbeville’s sesquicentennial.  That telling is the one highlighted in the conclusion.


Me in front of a Christmas lights nativity scene shot by one of the proprietors on my phone as I walked into the Donors Dinner.

Me in front of a Christmas lights nativity scene shot by one of the proprietors on my phone as I walked into the Donors Dinner.

But as I type this today, I simply urge the experts to accept what this chapter has to say but wait until the next chapter has been absorbed to come to a full judgement.


Palms Hotel & Hospital owned by great-grands, later grandmother &sibs

Palms Hotel & Hospital owned by great-grands, later grandmother &sibs


Here is the  Chapter in a pdf format: EmergingVIewsChapterTen


Here is the text itself:

Chapter Ten:

The Premiere at the Frank’s and the Years that Followed


While most people who arrived at the premiere of Louisiana Story either walked from nearby or arrived in automobiles one is impressed by the horses and buggies hitched and posted around the Frank’s Theater in the images of the premiere. There is something about a horse and buggy being driven to a movie premiere that is in itself noteworthy. Movies and automobiles seem to come together on to the world stage and we expect them to stay together.  In addition, there are no horses in Louisiana Story. Furthermore it was funded and largely produced by Standard Oil which depended on selling fuel for automobiles for much of its income. Horses as most readers will grasp consume very little gasoline. So the buggies at the premiere are worth a comment or two and there will be a few comments here about them.


However, the cars not in this picture were also part of this scene. Postwar Acadiana was everywhere changing even as it continued to be a place either backward or culturally conservative depending on one’s point of view. Or from this writer’s point of view a little bit of both. The world of the fictional Latour family was being affected by all sorts of change and some of it was of a more global nature and some of it was profoundly local.


Some might think that the life of a trapper remained much the same as long as the person remained a trapper but that is not necessarily the case. Trapping continues in Acadiana today. The same Nunez family that provided pelts and alligator skins for the film operates just such a business today. I spoke with them and took the photograph below in working on this  draft of this text.  There is no hitching post notable in front of the fur trading post in 2016. But there are places where horses could be hitched. Many alligator skins are farmed today, many come from the broad expanses of the Atchafalaya Swamp and then some do come from the harvest of alligators during the carefully managed hunting season. Alligator hunters discuss the decline of nutria  populations in Vermilion Parish and the impact that has on alligators. But in 1948 nutria pelts were the up and coming source of revenue for trappers in the region. Trapping was a more mainstream and less controversial part of life in those days. Today we live in a world where trappers and fur traders are more defensive about their way of life than was the case in those days.


The world depicted in the somewhat arranged swamp and marsh scenes in Louisiana Story had been changing in the years since the first camera had taken the first pre-production shots for the film had been taken. In the January 23, 1947 issue of the Jeff Davis Parish News there was coverage of a report to the Kiwanis Club. Earl Atwood of Lake Arthur was an employee United States Department of the Interior in its Department of Fish and WIldlife. The man was speaking about the growing importance of the species called coypu and nutria variously. In the 1945 to 1946 season the nutria pelt on the coypu held the sixth place in the number of pelts taken in Louisiana went to the more or less invasive species at 8,784 pelts in the trapping season. But according to Atwood the following season had led to an improvement in the rank of the number of pelts taken to fifth place and the market allowed those pelts to take fourth place in total money value for a species of fur-bearing animal. The nutria (as it is almost always called in Louisiana) had some impact on plague of invasive water hyacinths. Those were promising results for trappers oilmen and anyone else struggling to keep rural waterways open in those days.


In the January 18, 1945 issue of the Jeff Davis Parish News there had been reporting of the shutting down of camps which provided German prisoners of war as local farm labor to area farmers.  Four hundred hostile soldiers in that camp had then been returned to Camp Polk. The same process occurred elsewhere in Acadiana and Southwest Louisiana. The fabric of rural life no longer featured these exotic features. America’s own veterans returned to seek out a path forward in this as in many other parts of rural America. The oil industry would play a large role in forming the economic structure of rural Acadiana and its fringes from the very moment the war ended. Abbeville was a little East of Jeff Davis Parish and Iberia Parish was East of Abbeville But trapping farming and the oil industry were affected by these same very specific factors that got little national attention. People cared a good bit about  nutria and hyacinths and German POW farm labor. By 1948 the nutria had abated the worst of the hyacinth crisis despite it continuing negative effects to this day. By 1948 POWs were gone and for all practical purposes all the troops were home who would be coming home. Abbeville where the film would premiere was a postwar town in the definable postwar era locally and nationally.  


The postwar era if defined in almost any way that one might define it would not end in 1953. The year 1953 is chosen as the end of the period which is the direct focus of this study because it is the last year in which the Standard Oil of New Jersey documentary projects were working in Postwar Acadiana. Actually the date may be imperfect even for that standard but it is suggested by many of the most important and highly accessible sources. When this narrative arrives at the end of the year 1953 we just more or less magically stop without apology. But the postwar reality which had begun to take shape in 1945 was in full swing in 1948 when the film Robert Flaherty had made was exhibited at the Frank’s Theater in Abbeville.  The idea of a postwar era involves two smaller ideas forming a single complete idea. The idea is first that the war has ended and that is pretty well established in the case of World War Two to a higher and more certain degree than is the case with most wars. The second part of the realization of a postwar reality is the realization that the society, community, region and people being described as postwar entities are not merely the same as they were before the war. Rather they are somehow at least significantly transformed by having passed through the war. Louisiana Story was and is, I believe, a truly  postwar film. That reality is essential to all that it is. It has a great deal to say about a new stage for the oil industry and for the Cajun people and for the region after the end of the Second World War.  The transformations that had occurred during the war years were at a worldwide, a national and at smaller scales. Some of the transformations were directly related to the war, some were indirectly related and some were coincidental. But all of these transformations came together to create a single reality. That reality is what we have been describing as Postwar Acadiana.     


The house on Main Street had settled back into its existence as something other than a place to make movies. Robert and Frances Flaherty had completed their last real collaboration on the full and complete work of making a movie. His filmography was not yet complete but the last film would be an editing and reworking of an existing film far more than anything else. Louisiana Story had really brought their lives as married filmmakers to a close.  They had been busy promoting the film before its premiere and after the last edit and would continue in that mode for a while. Their agent and principal publicist for Flaherty productions always felt they were not getting enough money for the film in various deals they made with exhibitors and distributors. The Flahertys had been paid all along, they did not have to share any of the current and future proceeds with Standard Oil and they had been able to keep a film unit together under their command for a reasonably long time. People do and don’t become very rich for real reasons, in some ways it is not so different than having a talent for sports or music. The Flaherty’s had lived well, had made a movie that they were proud of, had built a further basis for their legacy, had unique ties to a major industry. It is really not surprising that they were not in the mood or of the mind to drive hard bargains for the money to be paid by exhibitors and distributors.


In the few years since the surrender of Japan on the ship in the waters joining the vast and far off Pacific Ocean life had changed on the Gulf Coast of the United States of America.  Abbeville, Acadiana and the rest of America had decisively and clearly moved from the wartime to the postwar American experience. While things were not yet as they would be in 1953 they were well on their way to that exact configuration of American life and society. The good and the bad of a really postwar way of life was making itself felt. The Louisiana Maneuvers which had trained so many men and some women for service in the U.S. Military during the Big One had involved an element of involvement by several colleges and universities in Louisiana. The funding and resources that came into the region at that time helped to remake Southwestern Louisiana Institute which was in Lafayette, Louisiana and now exists there as the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Abbeville is its own Parish Seat in Vermilion. New Iberia and Lafayette are each larger cities that have their own Parishes: Iberia and Lafayette respectively. Lafayette is to the North of Abbeville and New Iberia is to the East. At the time of Flaherty’s residence the cities had about an equal influence over the town and Avery Island where they and their SONJ photography visitors traveled most often was almost in New Iberia. But Lafayette was on the way to being the much greater influence and that is true now although New Iberia remains a very important  neighboring seat of a neighboring parish.The postwar years brought back many men and a good number of women who had seen much of the world, achieved new skills and made more connections than they would have otherwises and all these factors contributed to dramatically accelerating the pace of life in south Louisiana. The oil business that SONJ was trying to promote and document was indeed growing rapidly, Lafayette which had already had SLI  was emerging as a significant medical and financial center. Students and returned military service personnel would be among those attending the premiere of Louisiana Story.


Mr. Joel Lafayette Fletcher the former Dean of the College of Agriculture at SLI, became the president of this institution of higher learning in 1941 just before the years at the center of our study at the onset of U.S.becoming fully engaged in World War II after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Not ignoring the draft it is also true that a huge number of people rushed off to volunteer out of reasons not so different than those which caused recruiting to reach new heights  after the attacks of September 11, 2001. SLI had not had any really substantial military component to its institutions and so enrollment dropped both at very high rates and very suddenly. Fletcher had faced the prospect of presiding over the collapse of an institution starting with huge reductions in the number of faculty. Fletcher took action and with his academic vice president, Dr. Joseph Riehl, went to the nation’s capital and negotiated all that was necessary for the Navy to locate its V-12 and V-5 officer training programs at SLI. Among the results of all this change was the coming of recruits who were also athletes  as All-Americans from many colleges transferred to SLI in Lafayette, Louisiana. As the SONJ film and photography projects were getting underway SLI won the first Oil Bowl in 1943 with these players. During the war years and early postwar years this same institution organized a College of Engineering. Some of it had a military component and a great deal of it would be about preparing engineer for the oil industry and is service sectors even when the engineers were not petroleum engineers as many would eventually be. When World War II ended the school was associated with the Oil Bowl, had served as a major part of the war effort and was ready to provide engineers for the oil industry The school realized a further advance because of the war when it  purchased 108 units of veterans housing, buildings that became known as “Vet Village”. The tradition of military roles for schools that were not particularly military was well established in Acadiana. St. Charles College in Grand Coteau in St. Landry Parish was the first Jesuit College in the Southern United States. This school which combined a preparatory academy of high standards and an abbreviated University level curriculum was a key institution for the Cajun elite and others of means in the region during its tenure. It was where future Confederate General Alfred Mouton had studied before attending the US Military Academy at West Point, where future Louisiana Speaker of the House and District Judge Estilette studied before continuing on at Yale.  It had been a site for an army student company and a military radio course during World War Two. However St. Charles had closed after a fire in the early 1920s and one more connection to the golden era of Cajun Americanism in the late 1830s and the 1840s was lost. By the time World War II came around a period of real marginalization had preceded the changes brought about by that conflict. The fictional Latours really represented that marginalization in a strong way but one that people could identify with fairly well. Their feelings about the portrayal and the realities it represented might be complex but almost nobody doubted that the  oil industry offered the best chance forward for a culture and ethnic community that was not thriving economically to the degree it once had and which was showing other signs of strain. .


War of course is never off of the radar screen of the entire planet. The military cullture and the warlike conditions of the war years that had ended in 1945 and wrapped up in 1946 really had left a period of peace which was notable and profound in the Acadiana region. But there were seeds of the next war blooming and not all were oblivious to them. Yet it was already possible to guess that the next war would be huge and bloody but contained in the quiet and sense of restraint created by the unique Cold War conditions that were emerging. .  Korea was to be the next place where many men and some women would serve under their country’s arms and some would die for these United States of America. Korea had been  ruled by the Japanese Empire from 1910 and was one of the last foreign possessions rested from that dying and remade Empire in the 1945 and 1946 period when so much was happening around the world that defined the closing act on the real and bloody drama that was World War II. As part of that grand finale of struggle at a date later than many Americans would guess once this period faded into the past, that is in August 1945, the Soviet Union joined in on the great Pacific theater of the war as allowed by the defeat of Germany in  its very belligerent form as the Third Reich and  declared war on Japan. This Communist ally to the United States who was already becoming a potential adversary in Europe undertook these efforts with the understanding of the United States and by specific agreement with the United States occupied Korea north of the 38th parallel. After the first and only recorded events of atomic warfare and all else that was involved the  U.S. forces subsequently occupied the south and integrated a rule of the region tied to the rebuilding of the Philippines and most of all Japan which had surrendered. By 1948 when Louisiana Story premiered at the Frank’s, two separate governments had been set up on opposite sides of the agreed line. According to what all parties saw as the state of international law both the  government of the Soviet client state and the American client state believed the border dividing the country could not be permanent. Each of these countries claimed to be the legitimate government of Korea as a whole — with some willingness to consider accommodations of the other government’s claims and forms to some degree.. Cajuns like other American military personnel were already serving in a region offering signs of future conflict and a serious war at that. The Chinese Civil War was yet another strain in this growing symphony of tension and brewing violence likely to bring in the United States. But despite all of that this was a period of peace and hope in which the oil industry a path into the future and a new order distinctly different from the period before the Second World War or the period of that war. Louisiana Story was a good film for that sense of the likely trend of local events.


Postwar Acadiana was increasingly going to be an oil industry dominated Acadiana. Louisiana Story told a tale which many could relate to very well.  It may not have been the story of very many lives directly in the sense that a tiny percentage of Cajuns or Acadiana residents were trappers and not such a large percentage were landowners who signed oil leases. Yet nonetheless the film was very relatable and relevant in that it showed the oil industry bringing in the promise of a new prosperity. That was in itself a hugely important theme of everyday life and daily conversations.    When the film was exhibited it was not terribly hard to connect with local audiences. Horses and buggies and antique wagons nearly filled the town center as people chose to participate and show support for the event and the film that occasioned it. Cajuns were known for being the inhabitants of a part of the country where people kept their old buggies and related gear long after they had begun to rely on automobiles for daily transportation.


One of the realities of life in the Acadiana of the 1940s was that it was a society in which the horse which is absent from the film Louisiana Story still played an important role. The horse was still truly useful for working cattle and is still of some use in that regard. However, it had even more usefulness in other areas of life which focussed on ritual and recreation. Horses of course do not burn petroleum based fuels and that may explain why although they are not absent from the SONJ documentary projects they are very little represented there.


The role of Cajun quarter horse racing in shaping the cultural landscape is among the greatest realities in recreational life of the 1940s and fifties. The roots of these events and the impact they had on the larger world of quarter horse racing also revealed a number of realities within the evolving culture of Acadiana which addressed a set of circumstances that were in themselves due to change. The horse was a mode of transit on and between farms especially for young people when the family automobile and tractors were engaged in the business of farming. The word Cajun had by force of varied circumstances come to have multiple meanings even in the Acadiana region itself and some people grew up especially as white creoles with no blood ties or marital ties to the ethnic community and no grounding in its folklore or associations who believed that they were Cajuns because they spoke French and lived in Louisiana’s Acadiana region and were Catholics this was emphasized by the influence of the outside world calling all such people Cajuns in many newspaper and other media outlets. In addition the Cajuns did have many countless ties to the White Creoles in the community’s vicinity and were not eager to be too earnest in excluding them. The larger world began to associate many of the most rural and poorest people with being Cajun and very often those people were not at all Cajuns. In fact though poor and very rural Cajuns did exist they might or might not differ sharply from those held up as examples of the group by the incredibly misguided flounderings around of the mainstream consciousness. The Cajuns did really do a lot of ritual horseback riding and bring to the  to the areas near the community many racing events and venues. So did some of their neighbors. But among other things the Cajun horseracing world was a form of employment for the most needy young boys and men and a handful of girls as well.


Much like trapping , jockeying offered a life at the edges of a society that was not all that likely to offer many opportunities. Some people made a really “excellent living” at trapping to use the term Helen Van Dongen used to describe Lionel Leblanc who portrayed the trapper Latour. Such people like Leblanc usually had a whole series of enterprises besides trapping to engage their energies and fill their hours or as in the case of Leblanc had a single job or regular position which allowed them to trap as well. A few became fur buyers and brokers and of those a few got rich rich. The abundance of the nutria, the rising market for furs in a world recovering from the austerity of war and many other factors contributed to the sense of hope that trappers had for prosperity. Into all this mix the oil industry in real life as in the film Louisiana Story offered a few new chances for a good livelihood.  Even a new canal or a an improved waterway in the vast marshes could make the lives of some number of trappers substantially easier. It was also noted fairly early on that the alligator benefitted from the rise of the nutria population. The alligators also controlled what was already coming to be recognized as the real risks and dangers associated with a large nutria population. While the muskrat built a kind of artificial island nest and was a small animal the nutria was much bigger and burrowed into natural and man-made levees which joined with emerging oil activity to disrupt water and drainage patterns. This whole set of pressures on the marsh seemed to be creating more understanding of fur trapping and alligator hunting — both of which were often done by the same people as in the film. The sense of the way that these pressures would join with other emerging pressures to really challenge the fur trapping industry was not yet very manifest to everyone involved in the newly emerging economic situation in the marsh. People who might attend a premiere of a film in Abbeville were interested in fur trapping and felt as much connected to it almost as to the oil industry. Both industries were relevant to their daily lives.


The horse racing, breeding, cattle working and other industries of the Cajuns and of Acadian were significant. Throroughbreds get more attention for many reasons but in the world of quarter horses many prizes and titles were associated with this very unique section of a very rural environment. The world of major thoroughbred racing has continued to feel the impact of Acadian’s jockeys in recent decades as such greats as Calvin Borel, Shane Sellers , Randy Romero and Kent Desormeaux have created an almost incredible record in that more international, national and glamorous sport. All had deep roots in the races dominated by quarterhorse contests which have for generations filled the rural areas of Acadiana. Today these tracks may be in decline (although how seriously is hard to say) but in 1948 they were very much a going concern. Horses then which appeared outside the premiere in 1948 were very much a symbol of the Cajuns and Acadiana. Of course horses have been symbols of many peoples and countries. In fact that is probably why unlike the Russian bear, the English Lion, the American Eagle and so forth they do not stick. They are real and powerful symbols and images and realities for many peoples and so they do not come to be associated with one people. If there is an animal that now must recognizably is associated with Cajuns it is the lowly crawfish. A distant second would be the alligator.  But the horse has always been very important and even now continues to be relatively important. The traditional length for a rural race in Acadiana is four arpents (quatres arpents). The arpent is 64 yards. The original yards would have been slightly different from the yards in the American system of measure and on real estate transactions this all led to confusion. However, in the racing world the standard American yard had been completely adopted by 1948. The riding of horses also at the heart of much of traditional identity.


The jockeys that made their livings and rose to some sort of prosperity in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century were often the most malnourished young boys whose families were perhaps genetically small but also did not have enough to eat. They started off earning enough to get a few meals for themselves and their families and perhaps some would gain enough weight to be disqualified from greatness. The rare combination of malnutrition, genetic smallness and coming to manhood without getting big but while growing in reputation, skill and business savvy laid the foundation for a successful jockey of the era between the 1860s and 1948. But the great rewards of the recent batch of professionals did not exist. Likewise Cajun rodeo cowboys were around and could supplement an income with skills used in ranching and the life of the old vacherie.  However, this life was not built on the shadows which haunted the jockey culture but neither were Cajun cowboys extremely successful in the world of rodeo. There were plenty who were somewhat successful and there were a handful who were very successful but there was not kind of institutional dominance which united the Jim Boudreaux, Kenny and Jim Bergeron and Ernest Theriot with others in creating a kind of dynastic tradition atop the sport.


In addition the equivalent of the smallest bush races was more like the informal rodeos after a local cattle drive or roundup. That kind of activity fed and defined the local culture and had a lot to do with shaping local life and values but it did not make as good a basis for a larger connection with society as a whole. It made for a world where the skills of the cowboy were tied to the business of raising beef and breeding horses almost entirely.     


The buggies that appeared at the Frank’s were part of a dying breed. 1955 is a year that folklorisitically and generally speaking one could say and people did say (as confirmed by the Buggy Festival materials online) that almost all regular use of buggies as transportation in Cajun towns effectively ended. In 1961 Church Point Louisiana, which preserved a mounted Courire  with mounted Mardi Gras riders when changing torts law made it more rare also chartered and organized a Buggy Festival where  antique buggies were preserved and paraded.  The horse played many roles in  Acadiana. Horse breeding accomplishments have been significant. Lynn Richard’s book A History of Cajun Quarter Horse Racing has done a decent job of documenting the achievements of these local breeders, trainers and jockeys and the fans who supported them in achieving national, regional and even international excellence. The stock used for racing bled its way into the farms and ranches of the region. The sense of communal economy was both real and promoted in this culture. Acadiana does not manufacture cars and trucks.  All the dealerships, mechanics and roads in the region will not allow it to participate in the car based economy in the way that it could participate in the  horse industry.


The new Postwar era of increasingly worldwide oil and petroleum was a set of opportunities that Cajuns wished to participate in as much as they could. However, it was also a period of many risks. The Cajun rancher could control the herd of horses and make their future and current plans adapt to current conditions. Like many other aspects of life the role of the small town and the common man in the coming years seemed likely to be more passive.  But Louisiana Story told a true story of  trappers given a new security by the newly confident industry.  This was set around fictional events but it was the experience of many.


The troubles over lands and navigable marshes, old rights and state laws in the larger swamps would all have new aspects as the oil industry advanced. But those disputes were like the Korean War — one can see the  pieces in place but the troubles are not yet in full swing. Coastal erosion and the role of abandoned canals, cuts and the depredations of the nutria which allowed hurricanes to wreak vast damage. These things would be mostly whispers after Audrey would come in a couple of years and Hurricane Rita was far off. The BP oil spill and the discussions which followed were still a long way from center of most people’s thoughts.

The days would come when trappers, coastal ranchers, shrimpers like those pictured above going out to fight the BP spill with specialized gear and others among the Cajuns and their neighbors would have to consider whether the promise of abundance offered in  Louisiana Story was a  fair promise. There would be times of trouble and many problems would not be resolved. Yet when the film premiered at the Frank’s it offered a happy ending that people could relate to easily enough. People wanted to be optimistic about the role of petroleum in the future and they were.   

Emerging Views Chapter Three




Palms Hotel & Hospital owned by great-grands, later grandmother &sibs

I am sitting at a public library computer as I type this in a great deal of uncertainty about almost everything.  I am also without internet access at home. It urns out I have on other application for graduate study open and am looking into that possibility but am not overly optimistic given the realities of my recent life experience and such. But this chapter I think has something to say about living in the time one is in although it is not an inspirational text.

The link to the pdf is here. EmergingViewsLouisianaStorytheSONJPhotosandAcadianaFulcrumandCenter


Emerging Views:

Chapter Three 1947, Fulcrum and Center


Some might critique a few chapters of this text as being mere yearbooks in a text that already uses too many forms of expression in too many ways. That may be a bit unfair to the introduction and the conclusion but it is not so unfair to this chapter. The integrity of  a study like this as a work of history is related in no small way to checking carefully with what was going on in the geographical region and in the ethnic and other communities or groups being studied at a given time. In 1947 both the work on Louisiana Story  under Flaherty and the work of the Standard Oil of New Jersey  Photographic collection as administered directly by Stryker were in full swing.  The oil industry in the region was in full swing and the Cajun ethnic community was still very much alive.


Having asserted those general kinds of facts for which there is diverse and overwhelming evidence what else can be said?  In a chapter examining the year itself  what is there to learn?


In Louisiana politics at this time there were two of the most well defined factions within a single political party which have ever existed in the United States of America. The Democratic primary was tantamount to election for virtually every office  except the Presidency of the United States where votes cast in Louisiana did not determine the outcome. The Democrats may have referred to their factions as Longist and Anti-Long as they are almost always referred to in historical journalism and documentaries today. But frequently throughout the state and almost always in Acadiana they were known as the Machine and the Home Rule factions respectively. Machine had the advantage that the word was spelled the same and only the pronunciation changed for English and Cajun French. Home Rule was usually said in English even among Cajuns who preferred never to speak English — and such Francophone purists were rare in 1947.  The Home Rule  faction was in the Governor’s Mansion in 1947. Jimmy Davis and Dudley Leblanc were on different edges of that faction. In many way Jimmy Davis exemplified the British Louisiana cultural complex from which Cajuns felt alienated. Dudley was a major leader and living symbol of identity in the ethnic community. It was also true that Jimmy Davis’s very British American  song You are My Sunshine could be given a different interpretation by Cajun politicians. Sunshine was a symbol of Joseph Broussard and the Beausoleil Broussards for most Cajuns and was for a much smaller number a symbol of the last french King who was really admired by almost all of the Acadian elite even if they sought a kind of social independence from him at many levels. That was Louis XIV, the Sun King. A Governor who would sing about sunshine a great deal was easy to like in those days where the culture had felt most isolated in its history over recent decades.  Harry Truman was President and, while there was little reason to believe he thought much about the Cajuns one way or another, some among the Cajuns felt that it was interesting that Missouri which was the second state admitted to the Union from the Louisiana Purchase was the home of the current President. In a place where memories were long there was a sense of attachment to that area and there were still those who had very old business ties all up and down the Mississippi River. Compared for example to New York which had produced both FDR and nourished the documentarians community as such — Missouri seemed close to home.  All of this went with a feeling of cautiously seeking more of an American identity as the really postwar era developed.          

Every one of these ten years from 1943 to 1953 can be seen as having its own qualities derived from world events and the state of American society. Each year also has its own unique set of sources to a certain degree. In 1943 World War II is going on and in 1953 the Korean War is going on. The two wars are very different national experiences but  in 1947 there is more or less as much peace as a great and powerful country ever has. In this time of peace new opportunities came with a new national prosperity. !947 a company with was founded by a family with deep ties to the Attakapas country and a name that was commercial and political magic across Acadiana. Yet they were on the eastern periphery in Chalmette in St. Bernard Parish. The Broussard Brothers had one tugboat based in Chalmette, Louisiana. At the time of this writing they have a mile of developed waterfront on the Intracoastal Canal in Vermilion Parish’s Intracoastal City. The Broussard Brothers Company also have  a prominent building in the best neighborhood in Abbeville where such a building can be on its own and a fleet of vessels working the Gulf of Mexico. They would create almost all of that wealth in the oil industry and would remain deeply connected to the region and the community. However, there was no reason for anyone to know that would happen in 1947 and their experience is not all that typical of the connections between the ethnic community and the oil industry.


At the time of her arrival in Abbeville in 1946 Helen Van Dongen seemed to feel strongly a desire to make contact with and get to know and rightly understand the Cajuns as individuals and as a community. She seems favorably impressed with the ones working closely with the film. But in my judgement, there is a strong trend to isolation and a giving up on that hope of a connection which is pronounced over time. However, much of that has to do with the stress of work and intensity of her schedule and her sense of responsibility which kept her fully occupied. Much of it could be attributed to those work related factors but not all of this trend could be. She had grown accustomed to the society of the McIlhenny family, the Documentarians and the Standard Oil people. Interacting with the Cajun community was no longer what she sought out most eagerly. Her loneliness and desire for more pleasant interactions no longer drover her toward the Cajuns. She did not go to church, to Cajun dance halls, did not play golf at the all white but very ethnically mixed Abbeville Country club and did not much like the movies in town.  The only movie she describes in detail in the diary she kept was outside of the Parish at a drive in and she does observe the largely Cajun families with small children going out for the evening there — but not so favorably. There is never anything to indicate what might be called bigotry in Van Dongen’s attitude toward the Cajuns that we have any evidence to support. In fact she seems taken enough with Lionel Leblanc at first that one could argue there was a bit of chemistry between the two very different people. But one can easily enough imagine things getting out of hand in the opposite direction. She was single, a bit adventurous, had an eye and an ear for new things. One can imagine her going native and learning the two-step, riding on a float or drinking too much at a Courire de Mardi Gras. One can imagine her  complaining about some partner at a fais do do making unwanted advances  at the family oriented Cajun street dancing events. You could imagine her complaining about the cruelty of pigs screaming their lives out at a boucherie.  Those are not impossible things to picture but it is pretty clear that they did not happen. If some single event presents itself in the record somewhere it does not change the fact that her immersion was very partial indeed. She was surely under no great moral obligation to go native but she seems to have known her involvement was at some level unsatisfactory and by deep into 1947 she no longer worried about the deficiencies in that involvement.  


On January 13, 1947 Helen Van Dongen made her first entry of the calendar year in the diary she had been keeping in Abbeville during much of 1946.  the entry is brief and merely states, “Today I became an American Citizen.” In March she records moving the last of her editing process to her cutting room in New York.  But those few months of entries provide a rich insight into the inner workings of the film and its making. They also provide some very limited but valid and honest insights into the Cajuns and their region. But perhaps the most useful effect of the diary is the degree to which they illuminate not how those making the film viewed the Cajuns but to what an almost extraordinary extent they did not view them in any natural or unscripted context whatsoever.  


In a work of this kind it seems useful to take stock in the middle of the narrative of how everything was playing out at a point of importance in the action. The film was merely a proposal which Roy Stryker had prepared to make to Robert Flaherty in March of 1944. Since that time a first research trip and a simple screenplay called “The Christmas Tree” had been created,  talent gathered for the film, the locations scouted the numerous contracts made and largely honored without dispute.  The movie had gotten underway in an America still at war that knew victory was coming. But a great deal of fighting remained to be endured and conducted as effectively as possible. Some on the crew had worked on patriotic films, Van Dongen had worked on the Know Your Enemy, Japan  film.  Many Americans  and many Cajuns were fighting the war and many were not yet home  when the planning for the film had been done. But by the time the contracts were signed in 1946 to start filmmaking in earnest the project had assumed fully its essentially post-war character.


The film Louisiana Story was one of the most significant projects of her life and Helen Van Dongen’s day to day life is not very well known to us. outside of her somewhat controverted  book published under the title Filming Robert Flaherty’s Louisiana Story: The Helen Van Dongen Story.  It may be that such a lifestyle could have been glimpsed in interviews when this work was begun but that opportunity was missed. Van Dongen was an attractive woman with presence who had worked with Robert J. Flaherty on The Land.  Her serious relationship with Joris Ivens is mysterious but certainly grew out of a relationship where she worked as the film editor of an older man. It seems likely that some of the tensions which cropped up in her relationship with Frances Flaherty, Robert Flaherty’s wife grew out of the sexual tensions in the relationship. About a quarter of a century her senior Flaherty turned sixty-three in February of 1947. There is little to suggest he was either a prude or sexually exhausted. he may well have been exclusively involved with his wife and a very ethical employer to Helen Van Dongen. However there have always been rumors and innuendo. Partly the achievements of a woman in her profession were likely to be seen with some level of suspicion. Partly she was more or less and unmarried woman cohabiting with a married couple. But far more than that it has to do with Flaherty. In many ways he was an extraordinarily moral man but perhaps also the kind of man who could have lived in something bordering on polygamy in twentieth century America with very little sense of guilt. There is a real sense of extended family about his operation.  Her salary had been the highest of those contracted to work on the film,  She had been engaged in relating to all the different personalities and interest groups involved in the film. She had signed her contract when others had done so and that was in 1946. There was little in the contract that gave a great deal of information about the future of her work. However, it does enable one to make some interesting conjectures. In 1947 she was fully engaged in the work of the film. The challenges were truly significant as she had the artisanal challenge of laying in the soundtrack next to the film. Sync sound would owe some of its development later on in the industry’s life to the work of one of her colleagues on this project Richard Leacock. Leacock’s interest was inspired by the hard and demanding work that he saw Helen Van Dongen doing but that did not make theirs an easy relationship.  Leacock also seems to have learned some French from Van Dongen and her involvement with the Acadians around them. While LEacock seems to have enjoyed being part of the family of his wife and daughter and been reasonably devoted tot them someone  given to such suspicions cannot help but wondering if Leacock was a bit infatuated with Van Dongen. This could fit psychologically with a more open and pronounced fact regarding his thinking which is that  he almost worshipped  Flaherty in many ways. Leacock may well have envied Flaherty the way the Helen with whom he worked closely and who was paid more than  he was treated and related to the older man. It may be that he suspected sexual chemistry between her and the director whether it was there or not.  But all these tensions that may or may not have occurred for any number of reasons were not enough  to derail the steady progress of the film. One thinks too of all that could have been strained at times in the  lives and establishments of the local Cajun people working on and associated with the film. It seems likely that there must have been some missed cues along the way. But whatever tensions there were when the Mr. Hebert who worked for the crew turned his skills as a carpenter to the new industry of filmmaking they were to produce the needed  builds and  products without major incident.  Likewise whatever tensions there were between Evelyn Bienvenu and Lionel Leblanc playing a couple for the first time, between the real owners and residents of the trapper family cottage where the fictional La Tour  family lived between the McIlhenny family and their filming guests — regardless of what challenges this process may have presented the show did go on. Unlike a touring performance it went on being made not being presented.  


Lionel Leblanc was living a very different life in 1947 than he usually lived. Like most Cajuns he liked movies and the chance to make one was a source of joy and contentment. He was the McIlhenny family’s assistant manager on Avery Island and a very experienced trapper. He was used to working for a family who were certainly outside of the Cajun community. Nothing in the wilderness to which the oil industry was drawn was unfamiliar to him. He spoke French and English and he was very much aware his Cajun heritage. Representing his culture to the outside world and the outside world to his culture was a familiar task for him. The only unusual thing was making a movie but when that was considered in full and understood clearly it was an enormous change in his way of life. He was aware of the significance of what he was doing in shaping the way Cajuns, Cajun country and the Cajun culture would be perceived across the country for years to come.


Arnold Eagle was watching the progress of the film and was busy contributing in many ways to its progress he was receiving an incredible education that he would pass on to others in the profession of photography for many years to come but he was also keeping the connection between Roy Stryker’s larger operation and the activity going on in and around Flaherty’s base in Abbeville. There was a sense in which he as much as anyone else was the real presence of Standard Oil on the site of the filming.


The film was a multifaceted project and everyone was aware of the challenges involved in getting the images, editing the film, working the sound, preparing the music, managing the people and balancing the financial books. One could easily feel that the film was all that any of them would ever have to do. Movies had a way of blocking out every other concern. The “movie people” knew that experience was temporary and for them would be repeated in the next film. However,  the others could only reason that this was the case. Whatever perspective they were able to bring from their outside lives they could not help feeling the heady intensity of the filmmaking process. It was also a very special environment centered around the filming headquarters in Abbeville, Louisiana. Abbeville was just big enough to offer the benefits of a town to the crew that were often working in the deep countryside.Van Dongen admits she was unused to cooking for groups of people and when a few times in her time she found she had to cook she seems to claim that almost no foodstuffs were available in Abbeville. That seems on its face to be the most absurd and perhaps the only absurd statement in her Abbeville diary. Even in those days people came to Abbeville to eat and the restaurants acquire almost all the food from sources that other residents had access to. As i myself am  one of the most experienced travelers that I have ever met I know that when things become unpleasant there is a tendency to blame the locale for problems really based on one’s own lack of familiarity with the region.  The food  comments are a sign of this growing alienation in Van Dongen. That alienation becomes a kind of lense of perception through which everything else can be seen. One’s sense of discomfort colors every observation of the region.   


Here too there was a blend of forces at work in determining what could and would be the way that Acadiana was perceived. HADACOL was making its way into the national consciousness. It was a powerful economic formula for success and  and offered a great deal of appeal to an era and style of life in rural America that was passing into the mists of history. It offered access to a little alcohol in places where alcohol could not be sold except as medicine. This also had the advantage over whiskey sold in just the same circumstances that it actually was formulated as a healing potion. HADACOL was certainly not mostly an excuse for a means to get drunk. Its taste made it hard to drink a lot of it compared to almost any other way to access medicine. In fact a great deal has been done to show that moderate alcohol consumption has many health benefits and those were among the primary benefits most people got from HADACOL. One was less likely to abuse it than tastier and cheaper beverages and so it was a benefit to the consumer who would receive the benefits of a mild intoxicant judiciously administered. That kind of benefit shown to have an effect on hypertension and heart disease comes closer  to justifying the whole enterprise than was ever admitted by HADACOL’s critics at the time of its mass distribution. Besides the alcohol however the elixir offered the consumer some nutritional supplements  which in fact both mitigate the risks of alcohol and provided benefits to large sections of the population likely to have deficiencies in b vitamins, niacin and iron. Beyond the components of the formula HADACOL increasingly offered intangibles that centered around a sense of belonging and a sense of community. It offered a sense of the glitter and fun of something special for those whose lives were lived in a great deal of hard work, tedium and plain living. None of this  solves the basic problem of any perceived cure all. No matter what problems people had with their health someone encouraged them to take HADACOL. How often that someone was Dudley Leblanc is unclear. But he surely knew that it had a cure all reputation. Most things are not as effectively treated by any cure all as they are by the best specific therapies  that existed in the late 1940s which existed and were expertly geared to each individual malady. If people who could have gotten better therapy only took HADACOL instead then HADACOL did some harm. It is not entirely clear how much that happened. But it probably did happen to some people.


Foster in Moral Reconstruction has shown how the South’s cultural history in an earlier period was of transformation into the Bible Belt, Clearly Evangelical Protestant Christianity had never typified the Cajun experience. But Cajuns had been part of the  fabric of Southern experience and were not unknown to any large group in the South. While the  distribution of HADACOL at its peak went far beyond the South, Dixie remained a major region and was an early region for its distribution. It could be argued that many in the evangelical Protestant South were conditioned to seek out things like this elixir specifically from Cajuns and had that tradition in their own communities and families. More convincingly it could be argued that they were accustomed to seek out  those products and services on the edge of their laws and folkways from French Louisiana whether Metis, Creole of  Color, Cajun or white creole communities were providing them. Whatever the reason HADACOL was getting more and more attention each year and that attention it received nationally did not have a large effect on the SONJ projects. There is very little about TABASCO hot sauce or any other major commercial operation outside of the oil industry. What did get reported and recorded were mostly small and traditional operations.     


Hadacol was a mixture of vitamins B1 and B2, iron, niacin, calcium, phosphorous, honey, and diluted hydrochloric acid in 12% alcohol. It is unclear exactly what the fullest and most definite explanation for the Food and Drug Administration’s problems with HADACOL.  But there are plenty of reasons for there to have been problems. In many ways HADACOL was for the Cajuns of this era very much what a more obviously political  or paramilitary uprising would be for many other ethnic groups around the postwar world.  


America had a long time concern about alcohol and for many dry counties around the rural south HADACOL had  become a means of acquiring alcohol at the local drug store. The alcohol content wasn’t all that high, but the hydrochloric acid meant it was delivered through the body faster than it would be otherwise. However it was certainly a medicine that delivered  a variety supplements and medicinal components that at least arguably had value in treating the sick. Dudley Leblanc used both the money and the fame generated in the production of HADACOL  as part of an overall program which from a Cajun point of view was not so very different than what more violent men have done to lead the forces of a beleaguered  people in rebellion against the changes in the larger world that they found most threatening. Cajun beauty pageants, statues of St. therese of Lisieux in front of Catholic Churches in Acadiana, trips to old Acadie in Nova Scotia and many other manifestations of ethnic identity were expensive and Dudley Leblanc would gain renown in the Cajun community for doing all of those things before his life was over. In those days of the year 1947 the Cajun  community could see where State Senator Leblanc was headed and where he had begun. His life was a continuity and a complex one at that. HADACOL would not peak until after Flaherty film had been released it had not yet become all that it would be but it was the biggest single voice coming from the community at the time. The question of what fraud is and what it is not has a cultural dimension. From its start there was in HADACOL and element of magic, entertainment and community that were as important as the element of medicine. But the Cajun traiteur is for all practical purpose a Christian witch or wizard and although that may be somewhat contradictory or even religiously anathema. Dudley Leblanc was more tied to that rich tradition than he was willing to declare clearly, The magical healer may have its problems and weaknesses but it was not an occupation he invented out of whole cloth. American History knows the HADACOL of the very early fifties as the last great American medicine show. the ethnic community to which he belonged knew him as something tied to something even older.


The record of his life has a great deal in it and he is far more than the record shows. It is important to remember that Forest Davis Huey Long’s contemporary biographer called him the most dangerous man in America. Dudley Leblanc had been Long’s most effective and serious political opponent back in  the 1930s. The machine guns, armored cars, concealed carry squads, political operatives and blackmail masters were easy for many others to forget and Long had his good qualities and his achievements. However, the Cajuns generally did not forget. They trusted Dudley Leblanc to broker the deal between the things they liked about the Share Our Wealth Plan and other aspects of Longism and also protect competing values and sensibilities.


So Dudley Leblanc needed a focus for his accumulation of wealth and his outreach to people outside of his Cajun community. HADACOL was the vehicle that people could tolerate and sometimes endorse. The mixture really made a lot of people feel better because they were in distress and when they took it the elixir distributed alcohol quickly to the pain centers of the brain and nervous system, And although it wasn’t a cure for the many diseases it was advertised for it is worth considering those claims with some definite care. there are a few sides at least to the story. Alcohol can ease high blood pressure in moderate doses,  honey can soothe some manifestations of ulcers, iron can help to effectively treat  anemia, it seems that with a vigorous placebo effect added in there were surely many people who did in fact experience some curative effects. But even if that were true to a greater extent than we can prove HADACOL was advertised to address many other health concerns.


HADACOL was  booming in 1947 and people could see it would be everywhere, on radio, on billboards, in newspapers and magazines, and at the local pharmacy. There was generally a great deal of fear of its use as an alcoholic beverage and a great deal was made of the relatively tiny percentage of the concoction that was sold in liquor stores and bars. In an appeal to justice it was said by those seeking to disgrace Leblanc’s empire that people paid $3.50 for a 24-ounce bottle much as an addict will buy a substance upon which they have developed a dependency — spending their last dollars when  they had no food in the pantry. HADACOL in Acadiana funded Dudley Leblanc’s French language radio show as it largest and sometimes exclusive sponsor. It was clear to many investigating the HADACOL that was starting to The hope for a better tomorrow trumped common sense in those days, just as it does now. LeBlanc pushed Hadacol on his radio show, which he broadcast in French. He published a medical pamphlet extolling the wonder of his elixir. He gave away swag featuring the name Hadacol on it, including water pistols and a comic book for children with stories drawn from glowing testimonies. LeBlanc wrote a jingle called “The Hadacol Boogie” which was recorded by several artists including Jerry Lee Lewis. He gave out Hadacol tokens, good for 25 cents off a bottle. LeBlanc had to expand his factory, then build more factories. Hadacol use spread from Louisiana across the nation. Millions of bottles were sold every year.


The Food and Drug Administration objected, not to Hadacol itself, but to LeBlanc’s use of suggestion and the placebo effect as tools within the caring mutual community. It is not impossible to believe that in the HADACOL community Leblanc really believed that people might have access to others  who could better assist their needs for a cure for cancer, epilepsy, asthma, and other diseases when HADACOL itself clearly did not cure them. WHen claims were questioned   he made it clear that he wanted to avoid trouble and direct confrontation with the Federal government. When pressed he always pulled those claims singled out for challenge as false, but the damage was being done with each wave of attacks by all sorts of groups sponsored by the FDA and others. Once an attack had been addressed in those days there were still forward bounding growth. It had not yet gotten to the point that the critics imposed an unbearable obstacle to him in doing business in those days.


Among the significant activities going on at that time was that organizing activity undertaken by Robert Leblanc within the Louisiana National Guard.He organized company H in Abbeville to continue the military service when he had begun when he served in the United States Army and really with the Office of Strategic Services in Europe and then transferred to the China-Burma theater in World War Two.  This was the origin of the Second Battalion of the 256th Infantry Brigade which exists and is headquartered in Abbeville at the time of this writing.. This battalion has very distinctive Cajun and even Prairie Cajun identity. Of course there are no ethnically exclusive battalions. However, the Cajuns despite service in all sorts of units have a strong affinity for the militia and its most organized form in the United States — the National Guard. Fred Leblanc was Attorney General and Edward Hebert was a Congressman who in the future would become Louisiana’s longest serving Congressional Representative. Neither of these two politicians were  particularly publicly known as deeply attached to the Acadiana region of the state. Charlene Richard who is venerated as a saint but has not been  formally canonized was born that year. Bobby Charles Guidry who would become a famous musician in his late teens was a young boy in Abbeville and Whitney Adam Leblanc whom we will revisit in the last chapter was a young adolescent in neighboring Iberia Parish going to school and helping out on his family’s farm. There was no great scandal in the fact that the Cajun experience was far broader than was captured by the SONJ projects but it is nonetheless a fact that work they did would represent a great deal of the ethnic community’s experience to a good portion of the American population at one time or another.  Lionel Leblanc was a man Helen Van Dongen described as good looking, competent man who made an excellent living and spoke precise excellent English.  She at least was concerned about the possibility that he was being exploited and asked to play a kind of naive and backward trapper who not only was not typical but perhaps did not exist at all.  


The SONJ project would capture many aspects of Cajun life and culture in these years. Much of their Cajun documentary work would be of the Bayou Cajun environment in the East of the State that went back to Olivier Theriot and La Fourche des Chetimaches would not be of the  but besides Louisiana Story they had other work being done in the Prairie Cajun region of the Terre des Attakapas that had Joseph Broussard dit Beausoleil as its direct founding Patriarch. These photographers traveled through Vermilion Parish and visited Flaherty and others more often than not when they were doing work on the Cajuns and it is hard to determine all the lines of  communication that existed between these people. But Dudley Leblanc had many connections across Vermilion Parish and he was well aware of most things related to Cajun identity that were happening he probably had at least a part of his mind’s  eye focussed on this  Standard Oil effort to document the current Cajun experience. He left behind a great many personal papers, diaries and logs which have not been properly archived and even a relative harassing the family over the years has not produced an exhaustive inventory. Some have done much more than I have in looking through and copying his papers but I am fairly sure significant papers have been lost. Nonetheless, the Standard Oil documentary projects were not his priority — that is certain. My grandfather Frank Summers who knew Dudley Leblanc and considered him a closer relative by circumstance than he would be on a genealogic chart seemed to believe that he and Robert Flaherty met briefly once or perhaps twice and in that time did talk about their common interests. But again the absence speaks louder than the presence. Dudley Leblanc could have provided introductions, speedboats, parties, old photographs and much more but those things did not happen. However, it is a disservice to two extraordinary men to believe that they did not have an influence on one another. These were both extraordinary conversationalists and if in fact they spoke for a few minutes then it is likely both took away some real influence and information from the other. Flaherty did not lack for a base of support, funding and prestige with which to make an impression on the local people.


Standard Oil was very committed to this great project. The real value of their commitment is not so easy to calculate. Hundred of thousands of dollars were disbursed directly to the people working on  and running these projects directly. But the commitment was larger than that. SONJ subsidiaries also provided access and support in kind and any devotion of oil industry assets and time on any kind of large scale has a very high measurable dollar value. but those accounts were not presented to the people in the projects at all in many cases. Doubtless the accounts were better kept somewhere than I have found them.  But clearly in 2016 dollars this total outlay runs into the millions of dollars.  


1947 in postwar Acadiana was a region very much typified by uncertainty and also a certainty that change would occur and was occurring. The Standard Oil projects captured priceless images of this region at that moment. They brought out real truth and real beauty and pointed out real problems. They showed the viewers that Standard Oil could bring prosperity to a backward region and that was not entirely untrue. They made it possible to criticize what they did not do by doing something that certainly had real value in preserving information and images.


The reader can form an impression of his or her own of what exactly these projects amount to in the broad range of sources with which to view twentieth century America. Whatever the projects may be determined to be they were in full operation in 1947.   


Watching the BP Oil Leak in Gulf : An Acrostic Verse

When did this tragedy of oil and gas spill start? Were we watching a spill cam?

Always to discuss dead and dying turtles, pelicans and  rare terns– normal is it?

The truth is we discussed limits, coastal erosion and small spills here and there.

Cameras showing  jetties and reserves were in planks politicians had to  cram.

However, sportfishing, jet skis and music in good crowded bars marked a visit.

In oysters, crabs, shrimp, fin fish and airboat rides came wealth with care.

Nobody thought everything was going forward and would turn out well.

Great care was had for all threatened by an oil coated kind of deadly hell.


The decades of struggle to protect and heal and fill the coast with profits too.

How we argued and fought as to all there was to know and plan and do.

Each since April of two thousand ten are brought to a  struggle new. 


British Petroleum changed its name to letters before Deep Water Horizon’s fire.

Petroleum and natural gas heated pipe, plate, tanks  and white-hot steel wire.


Of the day’s  pain and fear we hear and  of dire and painful  escape from woe.

It is known that eleven tales are unheard in studie of fire and lingering flow.

Lives of eleven consumed and families grieve those who at sea to work did go.


Lives lost, others wounded and injured and in pain on  lonely  lifeboats.

Each still wounded and in pain came into ships rescued from an oiled fiery sea.

As these waited lawyers met them with right-waiving legal notes.

Kept for many hours in  mental  and social stress before set on land as free.


In days to come Transocean, Halliburton and BP PLC parsed the blame.

No coffins eleven had for bodies consumed in a gusher’s raging flame.


Greatly wrong series of  estimates of  flow — vast oil flowed out in doom.

Until a vast spread of emulsions, slicks, sheens raged across the wild seas.

Lapping nearer and into swamps that are breeding and nursery room.

Fingering first past burns and booms lines of  fouling forces flow with ease.

BP Oil Spill & A Tour for Kenneth Feinberg

i have given lots of small informal tours to those visiting the Gulf and Louisiana. I think that Kenneth Feinberg needs such a tour. I am too disconnected to give him the tour I would recommend. But I would recommend a tour for his orientation and to get him established. in his tasks.

For those reading this blog post who may not know much at all about Kenneth Feinberg I recommend starting by going to this link and then coming back to the post here.

I would make this an “Open Letter to Kenneth Feinberg” except that I have no reason to believe he reads this blog and I also am not  writing a post in a good letter format. But I am going to write in manner such as I might use in writing to Mr. Feinberg if each item were imbedded in a letter

First, before we begin this tour you may wonder why you need it.  I think the federal government should pay for it.  That may seem an unnecessary expense.  That is all the more of a sign that you do need it. It is not only pleasurable although there should be some pleasure in ti. Cultivate a really open attitude and disposition.  Be more humble than usual. Mr. Feinberg you followed the news about Agent Orange for years before you mediated that dispute ( whether you were aware of it or not). You knew a great deal about the cultural features and institutions of the area of Manhattan that included the World Trade Center. You had heard of the Zapruder film for decades and you spent lots of time in universities like Virginia Tech. Certainly you could not call yourself an ingenue as regards Wall Street executive life. However, you are probably very much an ignoramus here. Asode from hiring consultants and masters to assist you I would urge you to take a tour although you will be criticized for some it and it must create some bad photographs which will (not merely might) hurt your image. Do it anyway, spend three days:

Evening One New Orleans:

a. Have someone knowledgeable discuss the Urner- Barry Seafood Price Current and  the free wildlife and fisheries brochures of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida (and maybe Texas as well).  Have them quiz you on a few areas. Then with the same small group order up some seafood and have a film party watch Louisiana Story and Angels of the Basin. Then have an offical of the Louisiana Seafood Promotions and Marketing board discuss the seafood that has been eaten and present a brief slide show on various species and fisheries. Get a good nights sleep.

Morning One New Orleans:

b. Take a special tour of the Aquarium of the Americas with the Audubon Institute. Then take a paddlewheel river boat to the Audubon Zoo. Have the Coast Guard point out various kinds of river vessels and industries.  Let the Port Authority present a brief sideshow and the Hotel Association cater a brunch. When you arrive at the zoo tour the relevant part of the zoo with the Audubon Institute.  Then walk across Audubon park to Tulane University.  Meet with the Environmental Law faculty and students. Let them report on what is going on. Have a few snacks and coffee with members of the environmental bar and the licensing community.

Afternoon One and Evening Two Louisiana and Mississippi:

c. Have a helicopter pick up you and a couple of consultants and fly you over the wetlands and over Venice before dropping you at Port Fourchon. Tour the LOOP and have the various petroleum associations present you with a sideshow.    Let Louisiana State University give you a history of the oil industry in the Gulf Coast with papers you can refer to later.

d. Take the refueled helicopter over the Atchafalaya and the marshes around Vermilion Bay to Delcambre, Louisiana have the business community, shrimpers and officials present the way that industry functions and the way people live. Have dinner at Jefferson Island and meet with representatives the eco-tourism industry. Watch the film about the Lake Peigneur Disaster. Tour the island and have The University of Louisiana at Lafayette present a lecture and slide show on the cultural history of Coastal Louisiana.

e. Drive to a small plane and have it fly you over the Gulf’s oil rigs on a special flight plan at night. Land in Biloxi, Mississippi. Take a brief tour of the Towns sights and stay in a casino hotel. Preside over a dinner hosted by the tourism community. Go to sleep.

Morning Two Mississippi and Alabama.

f. Drive on a high touring bus from Biloxi to Dauphin Island Alabama stopping to see beaches. In Dauphin Island here from the charter boat community. Have a seafood lunch. Take the fastest available charter boat from the Island to Mobile Bay.

Afternoon Two and Evening Three Alabama and Florida:

g. Attend a lecture in the Fort on historical tourism on Gulf Coast presented by the University of Alabama.  Have dinner in a nice hotel in Mobile and hear a presentation on how the coast functions as an economic region across and within states presented by the banking community. Fly in a small plane to Pensacola, Florida. Have a geographer discuss patterns of lit up settlement. Stay in a very upscale beachfront condominium and have the real estate community present  a sideshow and lecture on coastal real estate. Go to bed.

Morning Three Florida: 

  h. Drive from Pensacola to Destin stopping to see beaches and piers. Have a discussion with University of Florida faculty over lunch on the patterns of recent migration to the Florida Coastal regions and it national economic significance.

Afternoon Three Long Helicopter Flight :

i. Take a long helicopter flight over rigs ports and wetlands to Houma, Louisiana. Go to the BP Claims Center and have a discussion session with everyone working there. Ask questions, tour the facility meet some claimants who have been invited to dinner with you.

After dinner you will be free man. You will not know all that much but you will know what you do not know. Then when you do your job it need not be a long string of  insulting misunderstandings.

BP Oil Spill,7 Questions & 2 Proposals Going Forward

Breaking News Since this Morning when this was Posted: Numerous reports confirm that BP agreed in a closed session at the White House to put $20 billion in an escrow account to pay victims claims. This is of course good news if it is borne out by the facts. It is also true that it does no answer to all things which are threatened for which claims may be slow to emerge. Nonetheless, the Obama  administration and others are to be congratulated on their efforts. Ken Feinberg who administered the 9-11 settlements and has acted as the Obama pay czar is in charge. He has a talent for achieving settlements which are low but not entirely unfair. He is one of the most mysterious characters of our life times if one really examines the matter. However, KF is a very gifted man. Nothing below this paragraph was edited in this post  because of this news.   

I am going to put forward a few questions  and even fewer proposals related to and inspired by the great BP Oil Spill. Last night I commemorated the one year anniversary of my grandmother’s death and my own 46th  birthday with about 30 of my mother’s family members. I also received greetings from scores of other people. I am grateful to all who added to the occasion. There are always those one would have hoped to hear from but doesn’t, however it was most gratifying. However, it is notable that many of us were discussing the oil spill much of the time.

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On August 2, 2010 I am adding a bit more content to this already overbrudened blog.  As chance would have it I never really spent a proportional amount of writing time on my grand mother Beverlee Hollier Gremillion’s death. It was at the time of my 45th birthday and within days of my brother’s wedding in which I was involved and in addition to all of this I was sort of between wrting outlets. That opprtunity has past and I am not going to try to recapture it now. But I am going to add a note to this anniversary note deep in my past posts. On June 15, 2010 we went to a  memorial service before going to eat at Schuck’s restaurant.  My grandmother was able to run a crew of servants and part-time employees who were helping her do ten things at once.   She had relationships across class and race and income that she attended to and was involved in a sort of empire of small things with my grandfather. Their holdings included apartment complexes, rental houses, presidency of a modest port facility, presidency of a savings and loan, a few furniture stores and real estate speculation.  She could and did paint and draw and create decorative scenes and effects. I called her Mamon with an accent grave over the “o”. She sang me a little song that rhymed my name with questions about travel and adventure when I was a child.

She was a great cook and loved to feed people. She had a tremendous capacity for embarassment.  She was embarassed by ancestors who may have slept around and engangered family legitimacy of some sort. She was embarassed by ancestors who were prudish, sticklers and concerned about legitmacy and marital fidelity. She was embarassed by aristocratic ancestors who exalted themselves over their neighbors. She was embarassed by ancestors who were plain and democratic in their views and ways. She was ambarassesed by skepticism, atheism and religous fervor. She was embarassed by each of the German, French, Acadian and Anglo branches of her ancestry at one time or another.She was embarassed by Hebrew and anti-Semitic ancestors.  She was embarassed by ancestors who were Unionists and those who were confederates. She was embarassed by relatives who were chaste and religious, those who were homosexual, those who were remarrried, those who were promiscuous and those who were  faithful homebodies. Easier to undertand was one particular side of the family which in two particular generations had more than two people who in their lives both served time and were in mental institutions. Yet, she and I disagreed profoundly about the propoer strategy for not driving an entire family to crime and madness. The only person she was never embarassed of in my presence was who ever was dependent upon her because of terrible publicly known trouble deserved or not at that particular time.  But it was not wise to have too many troubles only you and she were privy to. 

She respected her artistic and business savvy mother whom we all knew had starved her of affection all her life. Her compensation had been a father who had been electrocuted when she was a young woman. The details are uncertain to me. She drank, through wild parties, smoked a great deal and had many friends who were respectable and many who bad and dangerous to know. She could be cruel and merciless and our separate struggles with Christianity were very different.

I think of her often. She was one of the great influences upon my life. I have always considered her an example of how many bad things can exist in the moemory of one person and have them still go on living.

Beverlee Hollier Gremillion was a single Louisiana life. It is hard to imagine understanding her very much at all in a quick and fleeting relationship. Everyone is different but she was different in a Louisiana way.

Remembering her reminds me of all that Ken Feinber and other have to figure out.  I will return to my text as it was at the end of this paragraph knowing I have other posts explaining how he could come to know this place netter and address the needs of those who live here.

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Proposal One:

 I would urge anyone to try to put into place some of the provisions of my rather long-standing (if evolving) proposals for Louisiana coastal policy.

I will say that proposal means a comprehensive barrier island plan, innovation, urban and flood waters redistribution and many other things. But read the post — it is not long.

Questions One through Three:

1. How quickly will the Bobby Jindal (Dutch Engineer Plan) Barrier Island enhancement plan be completed? Included in this can safe construction wastes, key jetties, grass planting and other items be included in the initial plan no matter how funded?

2. Could Federal Disaster Funds be used to pay for even a few cut in bad old oil levees in the Atchafalaya Basin which have been recognised as needed and which could increase key water control just about now and in the future?

3. Can some of the unspent Federal Stimulus monies be used to hold an emergency environmental summit on the Gulf Coast which shows cooperation with BP even if we jail, bankrupt and disgrace them (because this is a crisis calling for the carrot and the stick as well as the rest of the arsenal of options)?

Proposal Two:

When one is really on the outs in the way that I am all proposals are against ones own interest. Whatever is done it will probably hurt one’s own position in more ways than it helps one. That is the nature of being far enough out. But here is another proposal:

The Energy Minerals Indemnity Program Going Forward:

1. I propose that whether imported or produced here going forward there be  a set of surcharges on fossil fuels. All of these would be administered By a sub agency called the Energy Mineral Indemnity Program:

a. i. I propose that there be fifty cent per barrel charge for crude oil,

  ii. I propose that there be  fifty cent per cubic mile charge on all produced natural gas and a thirty cent percent per cubic   mile   charge on all flared gas.

 iii. I propose that there be fifty cent per ton charge on all coal.

 iv.In addition every single safety violation recorded by and state or federal agency would be classified as major or minor.  A major violation would trigger a contribution of $100 to the Energy Minerals Indemnity Program  and a minor violation would trigger a contribution of  $10 to the same program.

All of these charges would be in addition to all existing taxes except that it would replace the current (I believe it is eight cents per barrel) which oil companies pay into the OPA fund.     All payments would be divided in the same way.  The first 25% would go into a fund for Disaster Response for all Energy Minerals and accessible by all energy mining and moving companies. The second 35% would go into a mineral specific Disaster Response fund: an Oil Disaster Fund, a Natural Gas Disaster Fund, and a Coal Disaster Fund. Then 15 % of all funds would support a Clearinghouse Office for Species and Ecosystem Support in the EPA which would offer grants and expertise for state, local and private organizations create nature reserves, hatcheries, rescue programs, spill barriers and other infrastructure to proactively protect nature near and in the path of energy production.    The next 10% would support an Energy Whistleblower’s and Investigation Board  under the joint management of Interior and Justice Departments. Another 10% would Go to an Alternative Energy Investment Planning Office. This office would give development grants to alternate energy enterprises which would agree to offer their business for sale in a kind of venture capital auction to the fee paying energy companies first.  Very modest tax incentives would be offered in addition to this development seed money to  participating energy companies that acquired these assets.     The next 4% would be held in an escrow account earning interest in the name of each rate paying entity. The last 1% would be paid to a reinsurance pool in which all insurance companies operating in the energy sector would be required to participate. 

Accessing the 65% of the funds which have an insurance role would be done as follows.

1. A pure ten million dollar deductible would attach to every year and every incident for each payer for which they would get no cash at all. After ten million dollars they could access their administered escrow account to pay claims in a speedy manner to third parties but not to mitigate the disaster directly.

2. No funds other than administered escrow accounts would be accessible until fifty million dollars in harm for natural gas and coal and one hundred million for oil. That would be the Threshold Deductible Amount.

3. After reaching the Threshold  each payer would  co-pay 25% of costs from the threshold to one billion dollars. They would co-pay 45% from one billion to three billion dollars. They would co-pay 75% from three billion to ten billion dollars. After ten billion dollars they would be required to pay the entirety. The reinsurance program would be structured so as to require participating insurers by law to make it certain that the fund could meet its own side of these obligations. Insurers would have an incentive to push for greater safety as well.

Questions Four through Seven:

4. Will existing insurers be brought to a summit soon?

5. Will an integrated safety archives be created soon?

6. Will  states be invite to file white papers expressing long-term safety concerns?

7. Will we learn from this terrible tragedy?

We’ll See if BP’s Viking Shows His Horns

President Barack Hussein Obama will be meeting with : BP Plc chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg to discuss this Oil SPill crisis. Obama will be able to talk about his Nobel Prize and discuss this new disaster. I would have the readership look at my posts relating to this topic in a different context. I will see what the Swede who is at the helm of a major telecommunications entity in Scandinavia and the Nobel Peace Prize Winner can do to work things out.  For me so much of the situation is so very bad. I see so much about how our whole society and government and our world are functioning in the details of this crisis.

One thing I have not done is to give specific directions about how to handle this disaster. That is because to a remarkable degree I have struggled long and hard around the world to end up a nobody and nobodies cannot give directions in the real world. In the hell that is much of my life I can only look on at all that goes forward. I am willing to take up arms one day and die in some absurdly unwinnable cause but until I do that I will mostly be carping from the sidelines. It sort of underlines the despairing hellish quality of my situation. 

I also know that Sweden is in many ways a great country and for those who wish to see what it has to say for itself one can look at their own writers. Here is a list of Swedish newspapers:

Here is a link to an article in a major Stockholm paper which has a fabricated picture of Obama poking his finger at Svanberg. This was the most noticeable coverage of the spill. Although the picture is labeled as a montage it does uphold the proud piratical Viking heritage somehow.  Svanberg comes in as a true son of Trondheim bringing death, ruin and destruction. However aside from the ways in which we are the innocents being hurt I would remind the horned hammer worshippers that this is Louisiana of the cannibal Attakapas and this is Louisiana of the first Sicilian Mafia in the New World. This is the Louisiana that gave birth to much the leadership of the Black Panthers who followed in the tradition of the Louisiana Native Guard  of Afircan-American Creoles who proudly fought for the Confederacy and their right to enslave Black people and then sold out the Confederates and made a seperate peace in war for the Union and the freedmen. This is the Barataria Bay  he is polluting  from which Jean Lafitte came to help slaughter British regulars leading a force largely made up of Louisiana Islenos, Acadians, Germans, Spaniards and Blacks as well as immigrants. This is the Louisiana of the Knights of the White Camellia and the White Leagues and the large scale lynchings of white Europeans as well as African-Americans. This is the Louisiana of the Acadians and their ridelles, Comites de Vigilance and rumored  groups like the Loups Garous. This is the adoptive home of Zachary Taylor– our only US President whose nickname was a nomme de guerre, “Old Rough and Ready”. This is where Pierre Gustave T. Beauregard was born and reared and lived, he was the man who would first follow his Confederate moral convictions by firing shots in anger on the flag he had long loved. He had of course grown up among not only old Creole families but also among families of both Bourbon and Napoleonic aristocrats who fled France when their governments were deemed criminal. This is the Louisiana that was the principal home of Judah P. Benjamin who was the openly Jewish Secretary of State for the Confederacy in a largely antsemitic World. This is the the Louisiana of the Machinist who kept the Confederate raider running which circumnavigated the world and fired the true Confederate forces last shot in anger. This is the Louisiana that produced the tactical boats some claimed made the Second World War winnable and the boating culture that created that weapon is whom they have most offended.  Among the newest comers. many of the seafood community are Vietnamese and very few people as a group are harder working and better Catholics (with a little Buddhism here and there) and they have just elected a fine law-abiding man as a Congressman. However, this is a country where royalism is the uniquely ilegal political position. The community from Vietnam has among them the Nguyens many of him have dozens of kings in their direct central ancestral line who ruled by honor, sword, courage and divine right in a country with few natural resources surrounded by powerful competitors. They have learned to take a lot of grief — I am not sure they ever learned to love it.  Louisiana values do not include keeping the rules when the rules are twisted and corrupt and creat only injustice and ruin. Consistently Louisiana has stood against the world-wide tide of idiotic horror and tyranny which BP so perfectly exemplifies in this instance. If not a drop of oil hit our shores and not amn had died they have apparently done us all so much harm. Standards were always too low. But reams of evidence indicate they have tried to lower them. Louisiana is a place where stands are sometimes made that the world remembers.

Frankly, as Svanberg condescends to leave Sweden to come to the New World he will be briefed. But I am not sure the Swedes  will ever understand us.  They will not believe a very racially and culturally diverse group can be all that tough (if it was the einners would not be so tolerant to keep the others around. They will not believe that the  New World can have a colony in which the people are so rooted. We are in many ways their total opposites there in the Fjords. So if Svanberg chooses to find a high path I hope he will find those here who will walk with him on it. If he chooses to wake ancestral hell-fires on these shores he may find there is enough hell fire here to match even the gruesome legacy of Trondheim.  

It will not be easy for us. But if he chooses to lead us into hell he may find there are some of us who have been there before. I hope that none of this is relevant in any way.

The BP Oil Spill & Tyranny: Links and Notes

I. “If This Be Treason Make the Most of It!”

I will not interpret or attribute the quote above nor even say what it has to do with the horrors and struggle  in the Gulf of Mexico. For me the gusher crisis is the very strong indication that we should have real and radical change. I do not think we are likely to undertake the right changes. However, prior to the spill I had been outlining some ideas for radical change. I believe that the word Tyranny which was once the greek word for a bad monarchhas been changed by usage. The Greeks had a word for a bad aristocracy which we translate as oligarchy now and a word for a bad democracy which was ochlocracy. They could discuss intelligently what a mixed government that combined the rule of the many, few and one would be like when it was rotten. Even though most of there best political sages believed the best government would combine rule of the one, the few and the many.  Other thinkers like Montesquieu also saw that mix as ideal and it is the template of our governance. But I do believe our government has become corrupt as an institution in a way which makes it an institutional tyranny. It is from this base of ideas that I have written many blogs posts about radical political change. These posts propose change. However, while I am not hiding these posts there are too many of these blog posts to link them all to this site. These posts are in this blog and follow the link I am posting just below and the one linked here is a good place to start reading them:


I have among these many posts one which describes changes that might be useful to have in effect as this crisis has developed. So it will be out of sequence but will show where the proposed regime had intended to bring the country:


While the post describes the inner workings of a proposed regime which is complex and has many parts I think you could read the two posts I have linked from that long series and have some ideas about what a possible regime change might aim to achieve. If it did exist right now then the Imperial Waste Authority (which is purely imaginary right now) might play a vital role.

II.Business  Media Coverage  of the Oil Spill

This catastrophic spill is getting attention even from those who one might argue are the most committed to the status quo. See the Wall Street Journal’s coverage in the link below:

WSJ 1.|WIZARD_EDITOR_ID|deepdivel1&mod=wsjpro_hphook

WSJ 2.

See also Bloomberg’s Business Week

So while none of these people or institutions are advocating radical change as I am they can all see that this is a very serious situation.  We are also in a country which was already in some trouble and had some difficulties which were well-defined before this gusher blew through its controls. Besides those who are making lots of money in business under the current mode of the country’s operations there are also those who are highly motivated to be recognized as being accurate. I have a few links showing the views of such people and institutions seeking to discuss the BP Transocean rig Macondo wellsite Gulf of Mexico Spill:

III. Academic Insight into the Spill

My own undergraduate alma mater:

 UL 1.

UL 2.

This University of Louisiana has a lot of resources to bring to this discussion that are likely to emerge as the crisis unfolds. They are likely to bring more of those resources to bear as one needs to analyse things in detail. They have expertise in petroleum and wetlands related subjects for example. However, they also have expertise in understanding how the whole complex of cultural and market forces which make up the state’s tourism scene. See this link for that  coverage:

UL. 3

My own graduate alma mater, Louisiana State University:

LSU 1.

However, I want to make it very clear that I am referring to none of these people and groups in the Academic because I believe that they advocate cultural change.  All of the people listed above are simply evidence that there are major issues involved in this major event.

The longer the crisis goes on the more there will be discussion of what it all means. The news is still spreading. The ferment of political discontent may grow over time. BP has no certainty about when it can get control of this situation. We are in the throes of a full-blown calamity. The world can see the struggle as well, which I indicated in my last post. I have a sampling of world press coverage of these events which indicates that this spill commands some world attention.

IV. World Press Coverage

See this example of coverage in the China People’s Daily:

WPC 1.

The online version of El Diario from Mexico:

WPC 2.

The coverage in the international online periodical Japan Times:

WPC 3.

V. American Change Agents

There is a crisis. That much we know and the question becomes is our system creating or worsening the crisis in many ways. I think that it is. I want to explore our political situation within this context.  Now I am leaving behind a review only of the discussion of the BP Gulf of Mexico Spill. I want to discuss those who are looking for change. They do not all seek the same kinds of change and some do not believe they favor any kind of radical change. Yet, the truth is that all of them are seeking change and proposing policy or lifestyles that if they were more successful would remake America. I am listing only groups that I believe are both legitimately American and legitimately responsible groups. 

I think that we can argue that this is a time that demands radical change. I do argue that it is time for radical change. While the regime change that I have proposed earlier in this blog’s posts are my ideas and I do not claim that other American change agents support them I do think it is significant that there are many “American Change Agents” who are not informed by selfishness or hate primarily but pursue differing responsible ideals. So I want to discuss what the options are and why we should consider those options. Of course I would like to see them informing and enriching the vision I have proposed. Together we might reach more successful solutions.

A Sampling of  Other American Change Agents

Catholic Far left with Deep Right Harmonies

ACA 1.

Deep Indigenous Right with Left Roots Harmonies

ACA 2.

American Critical Left 

ACA 3.

Mostly Protestant Activist Left 

ACA 4.

Strident Independent Outside Objectivism

ACA 5.

The Counterrevolutionary Right in Catholic Populist Form

ACA 6.

Committed Christian Fringe Left

ACA 7.

Center Right Patriotic Catholic Voice

ACA 8.

This is only a reminder of a group people say is dead — I do not agree.

ACA 9.

American Leftist Innovation

ACA 10.

Deep British American Centrist Force

ACA 11.

Trying to find and preserve a Confederate Voice

ACA 12.

V. GOHSEP’s Oil Sightings

I would like to end this post as I have the last two posts by simply reproducing what is reported on GOHSEP’s site in terms of daily oil sightings.  They show that we still have not yet reached the worst case scenario but things are not good.

Oil Sightings Report June 4, 2010

Sighting: Heavy streamers 5 miles east of Grand Terre Islands
Date: 4 Jun 10

Sighting: Sheen near South Monka Island, 7 miles NW of Barataria Bay
Date: 4 Jun 10

Sighting: Thick oil in the Lake Washington area, 8 miles NE of Grand Terre Islands
Date: 4 Jun 10

Sighting: Sheen with tar balls approximately 1 mile NW of Grand Bank Bayou with stranded wildlife
Date: 4 Jun 10

Sighting: Oil south of Bennie’s Pond, 7 miles NE of Pilot town
Date: 4 Jun 10

Sighting: North of Bay Long, the boom around the island is completely saturated and allowing the oil to approach the marsh
Date: 4 Jun 10

Sighting: Oil on the rocks off the state park shore
Date: 4 Jun 10

Sighting: Oily sheen located at the mouth of Bay Baptiste
Date: 4 Jun 10

Sighting: Heavy sheen at Four Bayou Pass, 7 miles NE of Grand Terre Islands
Date: 4 Jun 10

Sighting: 50 yards of saturated hard boom on the bank at Quatre Bayou Pass
Date: 4 Jun 10

Sighting: Oil on an island in the eastern portion of Bay Jimmy extending 3 to 4 miles N of the island
Date: 4 Jun 10

Sighting: Sheen with tar balls 200 feet wide in Bay Long at Point Chenier Ronquille
Date: 4 Jun 10

Sighting: Heavy oil sheen at Pass Abel, 8 miles E of Jetty South Pass Light
Date: 4 Jun 10

Jefferson Parish:
Sighting: Metallic sheen with tar balls extending from Middle Bank in Barataria Bay to Coupe Abel
Date: 4 Jun 10.

Sighting: Oil with sheen at Port Eads, 3 miles W of Grand Terre Islands
Date: 4 Jun 10.

Sighting: Sheen in water, mile E of Mendicant Island
Date: 4 Jun 10.

Sighting: Oil just off rocks, SW side of the Grand Terre Islands
Date: 4 Jun 10.

Sighting: Heavy oil with streamers, 3 to 4 miles inside Coupe Abel Pass
Date: 4 Jun 10.

Sighting: Oil slick with stranded wildlife in the middle of Barataria Bay
Date: 4 Jun 10.

Sighting: Oil 2 miles E of Grand Isle with stranded wildlife
Date: 4 Jun 10.

Sighting: Oil 1 mile SE of Basa Basa Island
Date: 4 Jun 10.

Sighting: Oil 1 mile SE of Grand Terre Island with stranded pelicans
Date: 4 Jun 10.

Sighting: Large tar mat mile SE of Barataria Pass
Date: 4 Jun 10.

Lafourche Parish:
Sighting: Gray sheen ribbons between Snail Bay and St. Joseph Bay 2 miles South East of Little Lake
Date: 4 Jun 10

Terrebonne Parish:
Sighting: 2 miles of containment boom on the shore of Raccoon Island
Date: 4 Jun 10