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Oil Spill Threatens the Identity of New Orleans


New Orleans JazzNew Orleans, deeply impacted by the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, just posted their tourism numbers are back to the level they were at before the storm.  The last thing the resilient residents needed was another catastrophe so soon in the rebuilding stage.  The resurrected city is now subject to the fear that this oil spill will slowly rot away the hope they have just recently regained. The interconnectedness of the economy has become more apparent since the spill.  With the loss of the fishing and tourism, the reverberating damages have been slowly suffocating the gulf region.  The flow of money through the south is slowing to a trickle long before the oil leak has ceased.

New Orleans culture is proudly established, with year round festivals celebrating what it means to be a New Orleanian. Voodoo Fest, Jazz Fest, French Quarter Fest, Essence Fest, Po Boy Festival, Crawfest, Oyster Festival, Mardi Gras, and so many more celebrate the finest food, music, and partying New Orleans has to offer.  What happens when you factor the oil spill into the equation? Take away the gumbo, the jambalaya, the oysters, the seafood poboys, and the crawfish boils.  Any New Orleanian can tell you these foods are a mainstay in Louisiana culture (think Maine without lobsters, Philadelphia without cheesesteaks, or New York without pizza).  New Orleans identity is slowly being beaten down.  After Katrina, it was the culture of the city that brought it back; the musicians, the restaurants, the artists, the workers who believed they could rebuild and show that New Orleans was back and better than ever.  No one wants to visit New Orleans and eat imported seafood, just as no one wants to go to Frenchman Street and listen to Pop music.

Residents are praying the oil will stop threatening their beloved city. As the oil spill chisels away at the freshly rebuilt city, local businesses will have to struggle to stay afloat.  This manmade disaster can only worsen as hurricanes threaten the Gulf.  Oil and dispersants jeopardize the water supply to the city, and residents are beginning to wonder how living in New Orleans will affect their health.  Although love for the city is strong, how many will poison themselves to stay there?



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