Grand Isle, LA


GRAND ISLE, LA. — In the Louisiana marsh, oil-coated pelicans flap their wings in a futile attempt to dry them. A shorebird repeatedly dunks its face in a puddle, unable to wash off. Lines of dead jellyfish float in the gulf, traces of oil visible in their clear “bells.”

These scenes, scientists say, are confirmation of what they had feared for a month. Now that oil from the Gulf of Mexico’s vast spill has come ashore — in some places, as thick as soft fudge — it is causing serious damage in one of the country’s great natural nurseries.



In nature, oil is a versatile killer. It smothers the tiny animals that make up a coral reef. It suffocates blades of marsh grass, cutting them off from air and sunlight. It clumps up a bird’s feathers, leaving it unable to fly. Then, trying to remove the oil, birds swallow it.

For now, scientists are seeing the worst effects only in one corner of the Louisiana coast.

But they’re concerned about what they’re not seeing — and worried that the impact on animals and plants will only get worse.






While many of you have written treasured comments over the years telling me that you visit this site for beauty and inspiration in a much needed escape from what Proust termed the “banalities of the quotidian,” my own conscience right now is consumed with a profound sadness over what we face as a planet. (If Only We Might Build an Ark)

In lieu of volunteering to go to the Gulf Coast, which I’m unable to do right now, this forum provides the one place where I might do something — if only to create a larger awareness toward this incalculable tragedy. Please permit me a bit of patience for this intrusion of well-intentioned reality.



A dragonfly, specked in oil in the marsh grass of Garden Island Bay, LA.
This oil-soaked creature washed ashore in Grand Isle, Louisiana.
A crude-covered bird struggles in the water against a massive supply vessel at the site of the exploded oil rig.
A few of the millions of gallons of oil covering the Gulf of Mexico, taken on May 5.




~ by eaesthete on 05/27/10.

15 Responses to “Grand Isle, LA”

  1. As one who has risked his own life to present the unfathomable truth on some topics, and who enjoys the beauty you present here, I encourage you to flow with your need to awaken the sleep walkers among us.

  2. I write about this with anger. You write about this with a poignancy I envy. I wish I could lift your entire post and put on my Women blog today. This breaks my heart. I am so sad.

  3. The photos are so painful to see – they make one’s heart ache – but yes, they are so important to acknowledge. There are numerous ways to inspire and the photography which comes out of this disaster hopefully will motivate us to DO better – and hopefully BE better.

    Kudos to you for addressing this subject so well. The world contains both beauty as well as ugliness – it serves one well to consider both – indeed it is a requirement.

  4. I cry every morning when I see this on the news. This is so entirely tragic. I wish it would open the countries eyes to our needless dependence on oil but people would rather bicker about who’s at ‘fault’. We all are, every one of us. Rather than drilling for new wells (as was just signed into a bill) we should be putting our money and effort into developing alternative energies. It’s 2010 -where is the electric car?! I could talk about this all day long but it’s just…too..sad

  5. Oh this is just too too sad! What is the holup on this cleanup. More passing the buck!

    Art by Karena

  6. Even though I’m thousands of miles from the Gulf coast, I’m intricately connected with the tragedy, for I breathe the same air, linked by the same waters, and enriched by the same natural wonders. As I wrote in my current post, “Your pelican is also my pelican; likewise, my deer, your deer.” Your post evokes a deep sense of loss and sadness. I just hope that this is the lowest that we’d sink and from this point on, would rise up and change our direction, adjust our lifestyle, and realign our priorities… as individuals, corporations, and governments.

  7. […] Grand Isle, LA « T&#1211&#1077 Errant Æsthete […]

  8. ..using mud to plug the leak? Use oak instead.. oak expands.

  9. I can’t believe this has happened again. Was nothing learned from the Exxon Valdez?

  10. I see these images and it is so disheartening. Volunteers in cleaning these helpless survivors are doing the countries dirty work. pgt

  11. Maybe California Girl has a thought that all bloggers pick up your message and have a simultaneous we are the world moment. And AD is right, the answer is in us. We need to sacrifice convenience for sanity and beauty.

  12. This is too sad. We sure need to keep talking about it until someone listens.. The images break my heart…

  13. How can I go help clean these animals??? Who to contact?

  14. My heart is so heavy over this!

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