Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Protesting New Orleans Style

Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Protesting New Orleans Style

Article excerpt

NEW ORLEANS * Frustrated with the what the government and petroleum giant BP are doing to contain the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and to protect sensitive marine life areas, residents and tourists protested New Orleans-style earlier this month: They formed a krewe and threw a party.

About 500 people joined the Krewe of Dead Pelicans. The parade wound through streets in New Orleans Warehouse District, home to art studios and galleries. Some marched dressed in costumes of threatened sea creatures. Many carried umbrellas topped with oil-soiled pelican dolls. All danced to a dirge played by a brass band and chanted slogans like: "BP lied; pelicans died" and "Stop the oil; heal the coast."

(A krewe, pronounced as "crew," organizes parades, usually for carnival season before Lent.)

Meanwhile, commercial oyster suppliers and restauranteurs hosted the first annual New Orleans Oyster Festival in the French Quarter. The festival had been long planned, but it took on a special meaning as many wondered if the first oyster festival might be the last.

Louisiana has about 400,000 acres of leased oyster beds. Most are threatened by the oil in the Gulf or measures to keep the oil off the coast.

Helping promote the Krewe of Dead Pelicans was the Gulf Coast Fund for Community Renewal and Ecological Health. A statement from the group called the oil disaster "one of the most significant threats to the environment our country has faced in decades. ... Put simply, it has the potential to devastate fragile coastal communities and ecosystems beyond repair. …

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