Grand Isle resident Patrick Shay set up a cemetery on the front lawn of his family's raised cottage. The 101 handcrafted white crosses are a memorial to the summer pastimes that have been lost due to the Gulf oil spill: Beach sunrises. Shrimp Creole. Shrimp Etouffé. Boiled Crabs. Sand castles. Flying a kite. Floundering. Playing volleyball. Summer fun.
Normally, Shay would spend long summer days at the beach across from his house with his wife and son. Instead, dozens of cleanup workers in tyvek suits are scattered along the seven-mile stretch of beach off the Louisiana coast.
Last week I met Cherie Pete, who operates a mom-and-pop style sandwich shop called Maw’s in the marshy lowlands of Boothville, LA – about two hours south of New Orleans.
Normally recreational fishermen stop by her shop to fuel up before deep-sea fishing trips in the Gulf. But with fishing restricted in most federal waters off the coast of southern Louisiana, Pete’s clientele base has disappeared.
“Normally we’d be swamped at this time,” she told me. Instead, the shopfront was nearly empty with only a few customers trickling by to purchase a cool drink in the 100-degree heat (including Brian Williams of NBC News who made a stopover with his camera crew.)