Another RoadTrip in the Books

August 8, 2010

I just wrapped up a project for EDRnet as their reporter in the Gulf of Mexico. I was interviewing scientists, business owners, residents and tourists about the impact the BP oil spill has had on their lives. This encompasses work, lifestyle, recreation and future livelihood. And what I found out might astound some folks. Here are a few things…

1 – The beaches in the Gulf of Mexico – on the US coastline – are gorgeous. I have never seen sand as white or well-cared for. The communities in the Gulf derive a huge portion of their income from tourism, so keeping the beaches in good shape is of paramount importance. #ioilspill tidbit – The beaches were mostly deserted and the local economies were mostly decimated because of the perception of oil rolling up on the shores like a big black blob. Not true. I spent 14 days in the Gulf and didn’t see one tarball. I saw and learned a lot about the BP oil spill.

2 – New Orleans has a Holocaust memorial, plenty of cigars and booze, little things called begniets, a few donkeys and of course great jazz clubs. I was stationed in New Orleans for about half of my reporting mission (unlike iRoadTrip when we drove a Ford across the nation) and I saw a lot more than the photos above. I also saw poor people in the street. Houses still standing – barely – from the Katrina hurricane. Crime-prevention methods everywhere (locks on the anti-perspirant at CVS!!). And some fabulous food. If you’re planning to visit NOLA, come down in September or October. The weather will be better, the hurricanes will be gone, and you’ll still get to enjoy all the great stuff the city has to offer without sweating to death.

3 – Big disasters trump personal ones. While I was in the Gulf, six kids drowned in the Red River in Shreveport, LA. It didn’t make the news in as big a way as it might have because of the oil spill.

4 – Movies go on regardless of the real world. The world of make-believe continued forward as the filming of Green Lantern took place in downtown New Orleans for about a dozen days in late July and early August. I didn’t get a chance to see the filming as I was reporting on the oil spill and doing interviews. But the filming caused traffic tie-ups around the city and consternation to taxi drivers and others whose income comes from shuttling people around in the heat.

5 – The city is a little gritty. If you’ve never been down to New Orleans, here are a few photos of the real-world. In fact, during my stay, the city had an argument with a trash company and refused to pay them. So the trash company refused to pick up any trash. The streets didn’t stink TOO badly as the city made municipal employees clean up the really bad areas.

6 – The industries down here are oil and fish. That’s it. And that’s really why the oil spill has had such a psychological and financial impact on the region. What happens if the fish die? The region dies. What happens if they can’t drill for oil? The region dies. What happens if both occur? You tell me.

14 days reporting. A ton of new information and insight. Anew perspective on a historic city. And another iRoadTrip wrapped up.

Got any questions about the trip? Does your organization need a content specialist to attend an event or report on a region? Give me a shout or leave a comment here on the blog. As you can see from the success of this project, good content has its place in the mainstream.

Thanks for reading!