April 22, 2011 12:56 am

Lessons from Louisiana


by Crystal Goomansingh

We can all learn a lesson from the people of Venice, Louisiana.

Everyone out here makes a living that is, in some way, connected to the water. Yet, as they watch their futures disappear behind a cloud of toxic oil, they haven't soured. They're scared and frustrated and more than a little skeptical, but not sour.

Every day when I head to Cypress Cove Marina to log onto the internet, I am greeted by a new person. I'm not talking about a nod of the head or a whispered "Hi" followed by a quick look down. I mean full out conversation that can turn two total strangers into acquaintances.

Out here, my cameraman Kurt and I are now known as "the Canadians." Every day we chat with Chris, who works for the marina owner, and Mike, the harbor master. Today I had a lovely conversation with Charlie, a nice boat captain, who saw me out running around the other day. I even received a big "Hello" from Dean, whom I convinced to do an interview along with George on the wildlife barge. And this doesn't include all of the people at the Venice marina whom we have gotten to know or their dogs!

These people don't have to be friendly. Frankly, I would understand if they were bitter and rude. These are people who lived through Katrina…something they say was more like a knockout punch. This oil spill disaster is being likened to tortured by a thousand paper cuts.

Yet while experiencing so much anguish, their kindness and desire for a strong sense of community is what they're projecting.

This Canadian is impressed.

Crystal is Global National's Manitoba correspondent based in Winnipeg, but is covering the oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

Report an error


Want to discuss? Please read our Commenting Policy first.