When the rest of America is getting pumped up for elections, many Gulf Coast residents are still enjoying delicious food and tunes, as there is no end to the festivals down South. It's a constant reminder that the spirit of the Gulf cannot be tarnished!
- At October’s Voice of the Wetlands Festival, Tab Benoit led a national audience to sing the blues and stand up for Louisiana wetlands. For the Eighth consecutive year, artists from the Gulf Coast have been funking it up to raise awareness for the rapid loss of coastal land in Louisiana. This year’s festival was three days of Louisiana culture and music aimed at rallying support from interested fans nationwide. Free concerts from Bon Jovi and Brad Paisley in Gulf Shores, AL also brought another late-season burst of tourism and a much needed economic surge. Likewise, tourism should get a bump during New Orleans’ famed Voodoo Fest this Halloween Weekend. This years’ line-up includes an eclectic mix of rock and electronic acts such as Muse, MMJ and Paul Oakenfold.
- Even though the oil spill had just about everyone worried about the gulf’s famed seafood, this year’s 39th annual Gulf Coast Shrimp Festival drew the largest crowd of the tourism season down to Alabama. Some vendors reported 30 percent higher sales from the previous year. That’s great news for an industry that is struggling to rebound from the oil spill.
- BP has paid out $965 million to victims of the spill, and the Washington Post reports that “Today, it is BP's money, not its oil, that is most visibly altering the Gulf Coast.” There are reports of some residents getting three times the amount they requested. Claims are pouring in and more than 25,000 have no documentation. In the words of Kenneth Feinberg, the attorney tapped by the Obama administration to administer the funds, “Thousands of them say things like, ‘My neighbor got paid; pay me too.'"
- Still, Gulf Coast residents have clearly suffered because of the oil spill. Reports are being released that there’s been a 25%+ increase in diagnoses of clinical depression among coastal Gulf residents. Though the report does not list specific causes for the depression, one major contributor may be the loss of jobs in the region. President Obama and the White House administration have lifted the moratorium on offshore drilling. While gulf residents (and environmentalists) are apprehensive about this move, the silver lining is that it will get some folks back to work.
- In other developments, Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabusissued a report detailing recommendations for an aggressive restoration plan that the White House embraced. Just days later, President Obama signed an Executive Order that establishes a Task Force to handle the ongoing BP disaster.
Do your part to support Gulf seafood as more and more tests are showing positive results. Even Bubba and Forrest would be eating Gulf shrimp if they were with us! Keep supporting this glorious nation of ours by remembering our friends down in the Gulf and voting for all of your causes this Tuesday, November 2!