This week, at least nine men working with BP's Corexit dispersant were taken from the coastal cleanup site -- some by helicopter -- to West Jefferson Medical Center in Marrero, where they complained of various respiratory ailments, including shortness of breath and nosebleeds. Yesterday, BP CEO Tony Hayward proffered a unique explanation for their ailments; the men were suffering from food poisoning:
Corexit, a dispersant, is being sprayed into the Gulf to break down the oil. The safety data information sheet from the manufacturer states that people should "avoid breathing in vapor" from Corexit, and that masks should be work when Corexit is present in certain concentrations in the air.
BP has not supplied workers with masks when they work near the oil and dispersants. ...
Tony Hayward, the chief executive officer of BP, offered another explanation for the fishermen's illness: spoiled food.
"Food poisoning is clearly a big issue," Hayward said Sunday. "It's something we've got to be very mindful of. It's one of the big issues of keeping the Army operating. You know, the Army marches on their stomachs."
An expert on foodborne illness cast doubt on Hayward's theory.
"Headaches, shortness of breath, nosebleeds -- there's nothing there that suggests foodborne illness," said Dr. Michael Osterholm, a professor at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. "I don't know what these people have, but it sounds more like a respiratory illness."
The federal government assures us that cleanup workers are covered by OSHA's Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response standard:
Workers involved at the oil spill cleanup sites are covered by OSHA's Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response standard (1910.120 and 1926.65). This standard requires that workers be provided protective equipment and special training by specially trained personnel who have received extensive training. ...
Safe work practices and personal protective equipment (e.g., oil-resistant gloves, boots, coveralls, and safety glasses) should protect oil spill response and cleanup workers. These precautions need to fit the hazards of the job. Because of this, employers need to evaluate each job; decide what the hazards are; use safe work practices; provide workers with the right protective equipment; and train workers about the job, hazards, and required protections. Workers have the right to be trained about the hazards they may face and how to protect themselves from harm.
Nothing in the OSHA standards about food poisoning.
Hundreds of New Orleanians gathered in Washington Artillery Park adjacent to the French Quarter on Sunday afternoon to express their outrage over the response to the ongoing ecological disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. The target of most of their frustration was BP, the oil giant that had said that morning the oil volcano under the Gulf of Mexico may not be capped until August -- but there was also plenty of invective directed against the federal government, which many of the speakers felt was bowing to the demands of BP rather than taking charge of the situation and telling BP what to do. The protest was staged by Murdered Gulf, an ad hoc group which sprang up to organize the protest and has compiled a list of demands -- and ways citizens can help -- on its website.
(from a sign held by John "Spud" McConnell)
The New Orleans Social Aide and Pleasure Club Task Force Fifth Year Anniversary Parade is happening Sunday, May 30, 2010 from 3-5pm. Parade starts at Washington Ave & LaSalle St. No route is given.
Clubs representing include: Dumaine St. Gang, Dumaine Ladies, New Generation, Original 4, Prince of Wales, Lady Wales, Single Men, Single Ladies, Women of Perserverance , Women of Class, Men of Honor, Undefeated Gents, Undefeated Divas, Pigeon Town Steppers, VIP Ladies, We Are One, Valley of Silent Men, Nine Times, Lady Nine Times, Bayou Steppers, Versatile Ladies, and Men Buckjumpers.
Thank you for the kind note/write-up. Please let everyone know that WE WILL BE BACK! Hopefully no later than the end of July. We so apprecited all of our loyal custumer's support. In the meantime I will be VERY busy over the next 2 months bringing back your Verti Marte.
Great news for everyone in the lower French Quarter -- and we'll stay in touch with Sam and let you know when the grand re-opening is scheduled and we can start eating Royal Feasts and All That Jazzes again.
Live Aid. Farm Aid. There seems to be an Aid for everything that needs aid, from Hurricane Katrina to the Haiti earthquake. And it was impressive to see so many local people come together May 16 to produce a Gulf Aid concert with mostly Louisiana musicians (the concert raised more than $300,000).
It's pointless to compare one tragedy to another, of course, but the ongoing oil disaster has left thousands of people with no way to make a living for the foreseeable future ... except to go to work for the folks who have ruined their lives, which is making some of them physically ill.
We all know about so-called "Katrina fatigue" among Americans (though they should check in with those who lost their homes regarding "fatigue), and it's clear that many people think New Orleans, and New Orleanians, have had their share of charity. But this disaster isn't about New Orleanians -- it's about the people of Grand Isle and Port Fouchon, of Lafourche and lower Jefferson Parish. They need help.
Has anyone else wondered where the Hollywood/music outpouring of support has been? Tim Robbins, Mos Def and Lenny Kravitz are a few of the people who have pitched in -- the operative word being 'few.' We haven't seen Jay-Z, Justin Timberlake, Jennifer Aniston, Kanye West, Ellen DeGeneres, Rosie O'Donnell or Sean Penn. No sightings of Bruce Springsteen, Kid Rock, Sheryl Crow or Dave Matthews. Where's George Clooney? Where's Bono?
These people, of course, have no obligation to help -- but they've shown their willingness to be generous in the past, and I'm wondering: why is the biggest oil-related disaster in American history suddenly unworthy of celebrity-charity attention?
In a week that seemed to bring nothing but bad news comes this new sadness: The Verti Marte, the legendary grocery and takeout spot on Royal Street in the lower French Quarter, burned last night. (Pix of the destruction taken by French Quarter blogger Bigezbear here, here and here.)
"Real Food for Real People at Real Prices" was the motto, and that was the truth; if you lived in the Lower Quarter -- as I used to -- you depended on the Verti Marte for everything: take-out plate lunches and bags of chips, BC headache powders and Dr Pepper, Hubig's Pies and ice cream bars. It was the place you went to get a bottle of water on a hot day or a bottle of wine to carry across the street to Mona Lisa.
You never knew who you'd be pressed up against in the Verti Marte's impossibly crowded aisles: laborers and drag queens, wide-eyed visitors and crusty locals, rich folks and poor folks. Brad and Angelina bought smokes there and took their kids there for treats. I've waited on line there with Harry Shearer, Henri Schindler and Hoda Kotb (who was returning from a morning jog in pants so tight that every man in the store burst out laughing when she left). And behind the counter, nearly always, was Sam -- Sam, I've never learned your last name -- who had an Elvis quiff and the patience of a saint, no matter what was transpiring on the other side of his register.
And the food -- getting a butcher paper-and-masking taped po-boy or a Styrofoam container of entree-plus-two-sides from the deli workers was as quintessential a New Orleans experience as eating at Commander's or Dooky's. Who hasn't had an "All That Jazz" (ham, turkey AND shrimp, topped with "WOW" sauce) or my favorite, the "Royal Feast" ("cheese capped grilled and stacked roast beef, turkey & ham complimented with hot pepper cheese, black olives, grilled onions and our original "WOW Sauce")?
The phone at Verti Marte has been busy all morning, but one of our readers who's been over there sent us this Flickr photo set (it's heartbreaking). If there's any good news in this, it's this caption on one of his photos: "I talked to the owner and she said they will definitely rebuild. And she wouldn't give up the WOW sauce recipe."
Sam and our Verti Marte friends: if you need any help, you'll have hundreds of hungry friends waiting to lend a hand.
My inbox is constantly filled with the desperate pleas of Nigerian princes and Chinese widows that miss my spam folder, where so many fake bank statements and male enhancement offers go to die. I routinely delete these messages, and the message I received from a Robert Philippe Webb de Orleans with the subject line "URGENT" nearly received the same fate. But a quick glance at this message told me this guy is not some spambot, firing phishy missives from somewhere in Africa: he appears to be a real life crazy person, and he wants to be the king of Louisiana.
He advocates seceding from the union, doesn't like President Obama very much, talks about some conspiracy theories, is sore about the Louisiana Purchase, and would totally let Jindal and crew have jobs under his leadership. Here some of the highlights:
"I am writing to formally express my willingness in this turbulent time to lead The People of New Orleans, Louisiana and The Louisiana Purchase Territory as lawfully installed King of Louisiana. There is no clear leadership in these lands which rightfully belong to me and my Family."
"I would be willing to offer each of you a Title and position in a new government which I propose to lawfully put in place with International United Nations Laws and the support of all The Citizens in my Homeland."
"There are many of these violations but in particular I cite The United States Federal Governments creating The HIV and AIDS Virus in 1970 at Ft. Detrick, Marylands Biological Weapons Laboratory."
"It is our legal right to bear arms against a Tyrannical and unwanted oppressive Government. I do however advocate my peaceful installation."
The New Orleans Wine and Food Experience and chef John Besh raise funds to support the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation.
By Jennifer J. Kilbourne
Photo courtesy of the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board.
The New Orleans Wine and Food Experience (NOWFE) celebrates Louisiana seafood at Saturday's Grand Tasting in the Superdome with cooking demonstrations by celebrity chefs, and proceeds from the day benefit the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation, which was recently added the nonprofits list of beneficiaries.
Food Network stars Paula Deen and Aaron Sanchez and award-winning local chef John Besh will prepare dishes that highlight Louisiana seafood. ??And the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board sponsors its annual Louisiana Seafood Cook-Off, in which 11 local chefs will compete for top honors. The winner will compete in the Great American Seafood Cook-Off in August.
Legendary punk queen Wendy Orlean Williams would have turned 61 today. The former Plasmatics lead singer and film star died on April 6, 1998.
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