KRVS Gulfwatch Stories

In early 2011, KRVS-FM commissioned Richard Ziglar and Barry Yeoman to create a series of radio stories about the continuing negative effects of the BP oil spill. This reporting was part of GulfWatch, a local reporting initiative sponsored by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and coordinated by Louisiana Public Broadcasting (LPB). Through LPB, ten public radio and TV stations in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida examined the ongoing effects of the Macondo well disaster.

These stories were originally published to the GulfWatch website and initially aired on KRVS-FM.

All stories were written and produced by Barry Yeoman and Richard Ziglar.

Trying to Keep Sane, One Goat at a Time
The emotional cost of the BP oil spill lasted long after the well was finally capped. In this story, Isadore “J.J.” Creppel, shrimper and net maker, learns to cope through raising goats. Narrated by Richard Ziglar. Aired July 28, 2011.

In Desperation, Seafood Workers Sign Away Their Rights
For many of Louisiana’s oyster shuckers, shrimp peelers, and deckhands, survival after the BP oil spill meant accepting one-time payments of $5,000 check and signing away the rest of their rights. Meet Tam Nguyen, who shucked oysters for 30 years before the disaster. Aired Jul 7, 2011.

At the Edge of the Gulf, Dulac Re-Learns Resilience
The Houma Indians and Cajuns who live in in this South Louisiana fishing village have watched its population drop by more than 50 percent since 1990. Now they’re calling upon their traditional survival skills to help them weather some 21st-century disasters. Narrated by Barry Yeoman. Uploaded June 16, 2011.

MacArthur Genius Says BP Disaster is Far From Over
The Guardian has described Louisiana chemist Wilma Subra as BP’s “worst nightmare.” A winner of the MacArthur “Genius Grant” Fellowship, Subra has spent 30 years giving technical assistance to community groups dealing with environmental problems. Based on her research, she says there’s ample reason for concern about human health and seafood safety on the Gulf Coast. Told entirely in Subra’s words. Aired June 9, 2011.

Charter Boat Captain to GCCF: “I’m Not Settling”
The Gulf Coast Claims Facility has predicted that most businesses will recover from the BP oil spill by the end of 2012. Like many others, Bryce Michel isn’t so sure. Business at his company, Topwater Charters in Cocodrie, Louisiana, is down 50 percent this year. Michel worries it may never fully recuperate. Told entirely in Michel’s words. Aired June 1, 2011.

Louisiana Musician Finds His Own ‘Solution to Pollution’
Drew Landry’s “BP Blues” helped focus attention on the plight of fishermen and oilfield workers after the Deepwater Horizon blowout. Now Landry is collaborating with bluesman Dr. John on a CD of environmental songs. A sampler will be released April 20, the one-year anniversary of the oil spill, during a New Orleans concert. Narrated by Richard Ziglar. Aired April 19, 2011.

For One Cajun Shrimper, a Journey from Despair to Defiance
April 20 marks the one-year anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon blowout, and it’s still too early to measure the complete cost of the ensuring disaster. But we do know that the BP oil spill upended lives in ways that defy quantification. Here’s the story of shrimper Darla Rooks, who lost everything but her fighting spirit. Narrated by Barry Yeoman. Aired April 12, 2011.

Grand Bayou, Self-Sufficient and Shrinking, Prepares for a Fisheries Collapse
Members of the Atakapa-Ishak tribe have found a creative use for a high-tech fencing material that has protected soldiers in Iraq and strengthened levees outside New Orleans: They’re building gardens that will keep them fed in the event of a seafood shortage sparked by the BP oil spill. Narrated by Barry Yeoman. Aired March 31, 2011.

An Oystering Community Contemplates Life Without Oysters
In Pointe-a-la-Hache, Louisiana, the oyster harvest feeds widows, sustains relationships, and keeps the rural economy humming. But oysters can’t migrate, and they’ve been particularly vulnerable since the BP oil spill. Narrated by Barry Yeoman, Air Date March 18, 2011.

Oilfield Worker’s Wife Sets Off for White House—on Foot
Cherri Foytlin is an environmental activist in Rayne, Louisiana. Her husband, Forest Foytlin, worked on a deepwater rig before the BP oil spill. On March 13 she leaves on a 1,200-mile walk to Washington, D.C. Her message to President Obama is surprising and complex. Narrated by Barry Yeoman. Aired March 10, 2011.

Researchers Call Oil Spills and Climate Change a Devastating Combination
Most of us shudder to imagine the impact of another large oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and for good reason. A spill in future decades could have even more far-reaching consequences than the 2010 BP spill. The reason is the growing influence of global warming, explains Tulane University’s Torbjörn Törnqvist. Narrated by Richard Ziglar. Aired March 3, 2011.

200 Ailing Pelicans Change One Man’s Life
The BP oil spill triggered an outpouring of volunteer energy. Concerned Americans lay boom, picked up tar balls, and performed mundane tasks like answering telephones. A few helped transport or clean oiled birds. Regardless of what they did, many volunteers now find themselves transformed. Meet party-photographer-turned-bird-lover Bart Siegel. Narrated by Richard Ziglar. Aired Feb. 25, 2011.

Pointe-au-Chien Indians, Reeling from Oil Spill, Watch as Their Land Washes Away
The 700-member Pointe-au-Chien indian tribe south of Houma, Louisiana was one of the first communities to take a direct hit from the BP oil spill. For them, the disaster is ongoing—and part of a larger threat to their ancestral home. Narrated by Richard Ziglar. Aired Feb. 17, 2011.

Vietnamese Fishermen Search for the Monetary Value of a Lost Culture
Kenneth Feinberg, the Boston attorney in charge of reviewing claims for the BP oil spill, says he expects to start paying interim and final claims later this month. But as Louisiana’s Vietnamese-American fishing community has learned, some losses are harder to quantify than others—especially when what’s at stake is a way of life. Narrated by Barry Yeoman. Translation and voiceover by An Nguyen. Aired Feb. 16, 2011.