BP cleanup worker “sick from the chemicals used to contain the oil” — “Forced” out after being hospitalized

Life in Louisiana after the oil disaster, Aimee Brown of The Oregonian, September 04, 2010:



I wander near the boats [in Southeast Louisiana along Highway 1] … Behind me a door opens and a man walks out. He sits heavily on the porch as if this effort alone is the limit of what he can bear.

It’s his boat. The one I’ve been admiring. It’s newly painted white with royal blue accents, but down by the waterline the paint has turned grimy with residual oil. BP had hired the man, who asked not to be named, after the spill forced the closure of the fisheries. Working as part of a cleanup crew, he said he had gotten sick from the chemicals used to contain the oil, and after being hospitalized had been forced to abandon his coveted slot. Since then his boat hasn’t moved. His eyes begin to tear and spill over as he asks whether I’d like to go aboard.

I would, and I do. Accompanied by his wife, I explore the cabin and decks. They’re tidy and well-kept, but the boat feels haunted and sad without purpose. Stepping back on to land, [we] are invited to come back later in the week for dinner and a prayer meeting.

Read the article: Life in Louisiana after the oil disaster

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