Gulf Coast Recovery

by Elaine Langley

In 2012 we’ll continue our material support for struggling families in Louisiana, a holiday gift and food drive, as well as reconstruction assistance, including the completion of a Community Center for the native Biloxi-Chitimacha people.

Thanks once again to the Philip R. Jonsson Foundation.

On January 7th Malcolm John “Mac” Rebennack, Jr. (Dr. John), the 5-time Grammy Award winning Louisiana musician, along with some of his family members and friends, joined Calvin and I to meet with members of the Biloxi Chitimacha tribes of Pointe aux Chenes and Isle de Jean Charles on the Gulf Coast of Louisiana. We met in Pointe Aux Chenes for introductions and a tribal council.

The discussion centered around the state of the Gulf following the BP oil disaster, and the toxic corexit that had been sprayed to sink the oil, thus poisoning the water, air, land, wild life and people.

Dr John is calling for a Gulf Healing Ceremony in April to support the recovery of this distressed region, while drawing increased attention to the the plight of the people who have lived here for generations.

We traveled to Isle de Jean Charles, an island that is sinking and shrinking due to the many years of exploitation by the oil companies. We met with Chris Brunet who has lived there all his life and who shared his stories of the island from past to present. Wyn Billiot also shared tales of his 86 plus years living on the island.

The entire day was filmed by a crew whose footage will be used in a documentary called “Can’t Stop the Water” that brings attention to the native people of Isle de Jean Charles and the threats to their ancestral home and culture.