Gulf Oil Spill Dispersed?
The mood improves, but Gulf Coast residents still skeptical.
As Editor of the Scholastic Kids Press Corps, I have been in New Orleans this week with two Kid Reporters. We are covering stories about the region's recovery from the Gulf Oil Spill and the upcoming 5th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.
When we first got here, people were somewhat down about the spill and the fact that many fishermen are out of work. They are also stricken by the damage that may be done to the delicate ecosystem in the marshlands along the Louisiana coast.
Today, the mood improved somewhat when the government announced that 90 percent of the oil is gone. It has been dispersed by nature, according to NOAA reports, with the help of chemicals put in the water to break of the slimy substance. Also, thousands of workers have been busy cleaning the oil off of beaches and animals and out of the wetlands.
At the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas in the French Quarter in New Orleans today, families crowded around tanks to see rescued sea turtles swimming freely amongst brightly colored tropical fish. The aquarium has put four of the more than 170 rescued turtles on display at the aquarium. That's all that are well enough to be put in with the healthy population of sea life.
Kid Reporter Abi Lista will have a video report on the Audubon turtle rescue efforts that will be posted next week.
Oysters are back on the menus in many of the restaurants in town, though they are smaller (and a bit more bitter tasting) than usual. Some of the bigger beds have been closed until they are deemed safe for harvest again.
Today, the Kid Reporters also retraced some of Abi's steps as a young girl growing up in the New Orleans culture before Hurricane Katrina. A favorite haunt was a Six Flags theme park in New Orleans East. Like parts of its neighborhood, it is still shuttered after five years. Haunt is a good word to use here. The place is a ghost town.
Abi also ate some of her favorite foods, now being threatened by the oil, checked out Mardi Gras World, and walked through the French Quarter.
Check back next week for a report on how her city has made a comeback in some places and not so much in others. She and her dad will tell you why they decided to return rather than resettle somewhere else.
Tomorrow, Kid Reporter Trinity Vogel and I are going out on a boat in the wetlands. Check back here to find out what we saw and what the Coast Guard has to say about the latest news.
—Suzanne Freeman, Editor
PHOTO: One of two rescued Kemp's Ridley turtles that are now well enough to be on display at the Audubon Aquarium of the America's in New Orleans. Once the waters in the Gulf are ruled safe again, the turtles will be returned to the wild. (Photo by Lee Alvey)