Gulf Coast Recovery Issue Update: Jam Cruise reflects while Prez forgets

Well, it’s 2011, and the Oil Spill and Katrina anniversary are now behind us. But the Gulf Coast was very much on my mind when I spent Jam Cruise with New Orleans musical greats like George Porter, Jr.Anders OsborneRich Vogel of Galactic and Big Sam. They were kind enough to spend some time with me talking about the challenges Louisiana faces and some potential solutions. Widespread Panic’s JoJo Herman weighed in too. You can read some of their words on the HeadCount blog. Meanwhile, it seems those in power are quickly forgetting the BP oil spill.

  • In a move that surprised the Louisiana congressional delegation and other Gulf residents, President Obama chose to omit the Deepwater Horizon Disaster, the Gulf Coast and its restoration from his State of the Union address. One editorial writer notes that in the 6,826 word address, there were 184 words about the rescue of the Chilean miners, yet not a single mention about the Gulf Coast.
  • Despite anything you may have heard about the oil being gone or mostly cleaned up, oil continues to damage hundreds of miles of Louisiana coastline. This is potentially bad news for the migratory birds set to arrive in the region at the end of February.
  • The National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling issued its final report in January. The Commission recommended that 80% of the eventual fines and penalties be paid by BP. The report depicts an industry in complete disarray and draws attention to the need for tangible changes. It even calls out CNN reporter Anderson Cooper for his alleged snubbing of two Louisiana residents that were supposed to appear on his show.
  • Just when we all thought things couldn’t get much worse for Gulf Coast advocacy, the state of Louisiana is going to lose a congressional seat due to having the slowest population growth rate over the last 10 years.
  • This year’s Jazz Fest 2011 line-up covers rock, funk, gospel and more. Spring will bring the sounds of WilcoJeff BeckRobert RandolphMaceo Parker and tons of other amazing acts to New Orleans. Be sure to catch the last weekend, as the final Sunday will have a farewell to the Radiators, a Jazz Fest staple for many years.

A new year calls for a fresh start, and that’s just what the Gulf Coast residents are in need of. We have to take it upon ourselves to spark the debate and get people talking about the present state of the Gulf Coast states.

Jam Cruise photo by Brad Hodge.