4th of July in New Orleans

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So we’ve been on the road since October of 2009 and have been in New Orleans since March. We didnt intent to stay so long but upgrading our travel equipment (a 73 Dodge RV to a 2000 Truck and 2006 Trailer) has cut into our funding to keep moving. Luckily we’ll be leaving again soon but the oil spill has really put a damper on our options.

Today is the 4th of July and although I don’t usually watch local news anywhere, I’ve been keeping my eye on Hurricane Alex (because being in a travel trailer in a hurricane is a death sentence) and of course watching news on the oil from a very up close and personal point of view here in the South. Our plans originally intended us to see as much of the country as possible and have a nice hot summer. As far as the South goes, we haven’t stayed in Florida yet, still need to see an Alligator in the wild and have only been to the beaches of Gulf Port, Mississippi for a couple hours one weekend. When we went to Gulf Port the oil leak was only a couple weeks old and hadn’t reached any marshlands or beaches yet. We swam, along with 2 wind surfers nearby, and although it was warm and overcast, there were no other swimmers on the beach. We later wondered the reason, sharks? because it certainly wasn’t oil. Either way, now the beaches have potential swimmers and open beaches but tar balls and oil are all over the beach and getting on anyone brave enough to swim. Other places like Grand Isle, Louisiana, a place we had wanted to go months ago, are completely empty of tourists. Today being a day that the island depends on its usual 20k tourists to keep the economy alive.

The news cast about Grand Isles problem reminded me of the movie Jaws which we just watched last week. In Jaws, the Mayor insisted the beach stay open because he decided the small shark they caught the day before was the man eater the were searching for – Selfishly putting lives at risk to keep the economy going. For Grand Isle that’s not even an option. The Mayor cant lie to everyone and tell the public that there’s no oil on their beaches. Unlike a man eating goliath shark, oil is something that cant be stopped, hidden or avoided.

New Orleans is still happening, Essence Festival is in town with Janet Jackson and many other top r&b artists. Downtown is pretty busy with tourists going on their little mule rides through the French Quarter and booking their Haunted Tours for this evening. Even swamp tours are still going on since the swamps nearby are far from the gulf oil invasion, but the mood is somber among some locals. The other day we worked all day in a coffee shop, overhearing conversations between locals about the oil affecting someone they know. People being forced to look for work elsewhere, moving away from family and friends to cleaner water. Businesses suffering from the lack of tourism in areas and of course the dwindling of the South’s famous seafood industry. The moods were surprisingly matter of fact and hopeful besides all the complaints. After living through something like Katrina and spending years rebuilding, although the problem is much different and will have continual environmental effects, no one really knows what else to do but be hopeful.

My only fashion related statement regarding this issue is that in my very strong opinion people should NOT be buying Anti BP t-shirts from the hundreds of companies doing their best to market on this disaster; but rather give that $30 you planned to spend on the shirt to the National Parks (DONATE NOW AT WWW.NATIONALPARKS.ORG OR TEXT “PARKS” TO 90999) or the Gulf Coast Oil Spill Fund, a New Orleans based organization.

Of course we all want to tell the world how much we hate BP’s irresponsibility and the whole disaster itself but think of other ways please. Handmade posters, take a marker to your own shirt for godssake. But unless the company is giving all or most of its profits to the oil spill fund, they aren’t helping.
If a company gives 100% profit donations it is a true favor to the gulf. If they only give a small % of the profit just to keep from getting a guilt trip, they should just stick to making tees with gangster bears on them and stay out of the “profiting from disaster” market.

As you can tell I feel strongly about this and I will not write about or feature any company who markets on disasters.

Here are some artists and designers donating 100% of the sales to the Gulf:

Kenneth Cole Customized Tees - http://www.facebook.com/KennethColeProductions?v=app_10467688569&ref=ts

Etsy Stores Craftivism – http://www.etsy.com/storque/craftivism/etsians-help-clean-the-gulf-8846/

Seriously EMAIL ME if you are a company giving 100% of your profits to the Gulf Relief or know a company that is.

Thanks and have a good 4th of July!