Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Baghdad on the Bayou - Part II

Excerpts from part two of an interview with Tab Benoit about Louisiana Wetlands.

I posted about part one last week

“Right after the hurricane, they were digging new canals. I saw, I was out there in my boat. Here the world just saw us flood because of this [Katrina], and we did get introduced to the fact that the wetlands are our real protection, and here oil companies are right in here instantly digging again. It’s wide open. It’s a gold rush down here. This town [Houma] is, probably after Katrina, another 30 or 40 thousand people. This town was 80,000 before Katrina, and now it’s way beyond. All of that is oil. That’s the only real industry out here.

“But then again my family will gladly move out of here. They don’t have any ties here, not like me. I love this place. I understand the importance of Louisiana, for the United States to survive, for the globe to survive. You hear all about this global warming, and you look at all the stuff that supposedly causes it, and the stuff that could be fixing it. Everybody knows that the delta of a river, that those lush forests of swamps and trees are like natural filters, and oxygen makers. And we just killed a huge amount of it. We killed the third largest river on the planet’s delta. We killed one of our big atmosphere scrubbers. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that maybe we should pay more attention to the delta of the Mississippi river.”

“As soon as I started being a professional musician I felt this is the right place. Just keep going. It’s led me to everything that I’ve done. Like talking to you right now. Little did I know that my area would need the most help out of any area in this entire country. But there you go. There’s gotta be a reason why I’m here, why I know what I know, why I’ve seen what I’ve seen, and everything that I did before was a huge part of getting me involved in wetlands restoration. I saw it from the air, day to day, I would come in and talk about it and people would think that’s never going to happen in my lifetime. Every day I’m watching stuff wash away. Yes, this is going to happen in our lifetime. Learning it from the air, watching it from a bird’s eye view, it’s so much easier to see. All your questions are answered in a matter of minutes.”

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