Holding Onto the Bayou (Gravy Ep. 18)

Five years ago this week, the BP oil spill ended. On July 15, 2010, the well that had been spilling millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico was capped, after 87 days. It was the largest spill in the nation’s history, and had a devastating impact on Gulf Coast fisheries. The long term effects of the spill continue to reveal themselves for the Louisiana Coast, which has supported communities of fishermen for centuries. But the oil spill isn’t the only thing they’re up against. The land is disappearing, and both man-made and natural disasters are speeding up the sinking process.

What would it be like if the place you’d lived your whole life started to disappear? For Tony Goutierrez of St. Bernard Parish, that’s not just a nightmare scenario. In this episode of Gravy, producer Laine Kaplan-Levenson tells us Tony’s story, and what he’s trying to do to maintain his life on the water.

Tony Goutierrez at work. Photo by Laine Kaplan-Levenson.
Tony Goutierrez at work. Photo by Laine Kaplan-Levenson.

You can learn more about coastal land loss in Louisiana by reading this fascinating piece by Brett Anderson, “Louisiana Loses Its Boot.”

Tony and Kathy Goutierrez hunting for Kathy's family cemetery in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana. Photo by Laine Kaplan-Levenson.
Tony and Kathy Goutierrez hunting for Kathy’s family cemetery in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana. Photo by Laine Kaplan-Levenson.

You can read the state of Louisiana’s Coastal Master Plan here.

Hopedale Canal in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana. Photo by Laine Kaplan-Levenson.
Hopedale Canal in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana. Photo by Laine Kaplan-Levenson.

Learn more about the stance of fisherman on that Coastal Master Plan through the United Commercial Fisherman’s Association here.

Tony and Kathy Goutierrez with their son, Justin.
Tony and Kathy Goutierrez with their son, Justin.