Voices of the Gulf—Distressed, Yet Resilient Communities

Pervasive frustration, anger, and resentment resulting from the above challenges and the lacking and/or flawed systems to support recovery, have resulted in conflicts between family members and within communities. This is manifested by increased domestic violence rates reported by police departments and service providers as well as a spike in incidents of road rage reported by highway authorities.

In Plaquemines Parish, in the first quarter 2010, there were 32 reported cases of domestic violence while in the second quarter of 2010, since the oil spill began, the number of reported cases of domestic violence more than doubled to 68. In her article “Collateral Disaster: Domestic Violence Up After Oil Spill,” Jenny Inglee reports that Mayor Stan Wright of Bayou La Batre, Alabama, told the BBC that domestic violence has risen by 320 percent since the Gulf oil spill began. She wrote, “There has been a 110 percent increase in daily calls and complaints to the local police department.”[1]

Yet communities are coming together with leadership from groups like the Louisiana Bayoukeepers Association, Gulf Coast Fund, Deep South Center for Environmental Justice, Advocates for Environmental and Human Rights, Louisiana Justice Institute, Louisiana Oystermen’s Association, Mobile Baykeepers, Steps Coalition, Bayou Interfaith Shared Community Organizing, the NAACP and many, many more, to advance demands for justice in the wake of this disaster.

Derrick Evans of Turkey Creek Initiatives and Gulf Coast Fund Advisor shares about impacts on communities.
Sharon Gauthe and Patty Whitney of  the Bayou Interfaith Shared Community Organizing speak of challenges for communities and the organizations struggling to serve.

Danny Patterson of the South Alabama Community Foundation describes how the communities are being impacted by this disaster including describing instances of domestic violence, road rage, and even an instance where a person was murdered because in a robbery for his claim check. He also describes challenges with the Gulf Coast Claims Facility.

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