10 who tell the oil spill story

Carlene Peterson

From the white sand of Florida to the weather-beaten docks of Louisiana, the oil spill in the Gulf has had a profound impact on those who live on the water, by the water and for the water. Here are 10 telling quotes from those affected.

A protester

“We’re afraid to eat the fish. We’ve sworn off seafood. Today we’re getting steaks. Thank God cows don’t grow in the Gulf.” — Jan Young, of Foley, Ala.

A charter fisherman

“They put us out of business, and now they’re forcing us into slave labor.” — Charter fisherman Mike Ellis, of Harvey, La.

A resident

“We live in BP of America, instead of the United States of America.” — Dolores Pittman, of nearby Gulf Breeze, Fla.

A business owner

“There’s a good chance it’ll put bait and tackle shops out of business. I’ve got two kids in diapers. Not a good thing.” — Vick Mitchell, owner of Gulf Breeze Bait and Tackle, in Gulf Breeze, Fla.

A commercial fisherman

“I’m relying on handouts from BP. I’d like to get out on the water and work for it.” — Third-generation commercial fisherman Ed Wall, based out of Pensacola, Fla.

A musician

“There have been blobs washing up all my life. That’s part of the hazard of living along the Gulf.” — Bobby Skinner, a New Orleans native and musician

A cleanup volunteer

“I hope that my child can get in the water without me being afraid he’ll get sick. I hope I can cook shrimp gumbo again.” — Amanda Bacon, Point Clear, Ala.

An environmentalist

“We’ve had a hard time finding anywhere to volunteer to help with the birds. We don’t want to go through BP. We see how their work ethic is.” — Master naturalist Mary Wedlake, Fort Myers, Fla.

A bait shop manager

“The news media will do us more damage in two seconds than the oil will in 20 years. Don’t kill me before it’s time.” — Darrell Duke, manager at Bait and Tackle, in Gulf Breeze, Fla.

A resident

“To tell you the truth, it affects me deeply. It hurts. It really does. It just affected me in such a way, I thought back, well my grandchildren aren’t going to be able to enjoy it like I was able to enjoy it.” — Michael Faircloth, lifelong Pensacola, Fla., resident