Day 46 - This is the exact day that Rosina Philippe remembers the devastating effects of the Gulf oil spill reaching her home.
Rosina recalls that "it came rolling into the bay. I mean tons of it, just thick orange. It was horrible. It just came in and it kept coming and there was nothing to stop it... [We] knew that it was coming in and everything it touched was going to die. And that's just what happened." Rosina and Geraldine Philippe are members of the Atakapa Tribe in Grand Bayou Village, Louisiana. They told their story as part of a conversation and slideshow for "Stories from the Gulf: Living with the BP Oil Disaster," a project of NRDC, StoryCorps and Bridge the Gulf.
For Rosina, living on the bayou was a peaceful, idyllic way to grow up. While she didn't possess all of the material goods that many Americans proudly own, she felt fortunate for her surroundings. As Rosina explains, "I know there are things that I didn't grow up with, but I had the outdoors, I had nature. I didn't go to SeaWorld until I was in my 30's. But I had the porpoises, all of the animals, that's part of our world. It taught me to be a steward of my environment."
Unfortunately for Rosina and Geraldine, their perfect world has been shattered by the oil spill. Despite reports that their shrimp are safe to eat, the crustacean now dies as soon as it's taken out of the water. The porpoises and starfish carcasses washing up on the beaches confirm for Rosina that her water is still hazardous. Rosina will only feel safe again "when things stop dying." Rosina is part of a growing number of residents who fear that they will be forgotten, left to clean up someone else's mess.
As for Geraldine, she's still trying to adapt to this new, post-spill world. She sadly states, "It's hard to realize that our way of life is going to be totally changed because of this situation."
More Gulf Coast stories will be released by the NRDC on their website, www.nrdc.org/storycorps.
WATCH the women tell their story in this slideshow presentation: