Are you keeping your New Year's resolutions?|
Story Archives: Taking care of our own
|Taking care of our own|
There is an old adage about charity starting at home. That should be remembered when we look at the devastation the oil spill is already taking on Louisiana.
While it's certain that this disaster will take a toll on many sectors of our economy — from tourism to oil production — Louisiana fishermen will have a particularly hard time keeping their heads above water long after the Deepwater Horizon well stops gushing in the Gulf of Mexico.
Some estimates have Louisiana's $ 2.4 billion fishing industry taking a $2.5 billion hit. That's the kind of hit that many small business fishermen won't easily survive.
Our fishing industry reels lots of money into our coffers, but the oil spill threatens more than our pocketbooks.
In a state that's identity is partly shaped by its connection to the Gulf, this impacts our way of life.
Louisiana provides a third of the seafood consumed in the U.S. and nearly three-quarters of the nation's shrimp output comes from the very waters that are rapidly growing murkier as 5,000 barrels of oil pour daily from the ruptured well.
As you read this, men who feed the nation are waiting with docked boats wondering how they will feed their families.
The outlook is bleak and made all the worse when you consider that it's spawning season for many fish and migration time for many shrimp that our fishermen need to be plentiful to continue making a living. For many fishermen, it's the only living they know.
There are lawsuits against BP and the government promises aid, but that's not what this column is about. This is about what we, as Louisianians, can do to help an industry that is a slice of the fabric that makes our state unique.
Fortunately, there are some who have already stepped up.
Musicians and business leaders in New Orleans have joined to create the GULF AID benefit concert to help our beleaguered fishermen.
The concert will take place this Sunday, May 16, from noon to 10 p.m. at the Mardi Gras World River City overlooking the Mississippi River in New Orleans.
Musicians who will contribute their talents include such notables as Lenny Kravitz —a part-time New Orleans resident. The line-up will also feature Allen Toussaint, Mos Def, Ani difference, the Voice of the Wetlands Allstars (featuring Tab Benoit, Dr. John, Cyril Neville, George Porter Jr., Waylon Thibodeaux, Big Chief Monk Boudreaux, Johnny Sansone, and Johnny Vidacovich), Zachary Richard, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk, Soul Rebels Brass Band, Irvin Mayfield's Playhouse Review, Kermit Ruffins and the BBQ Swingers, Jeremy Davenport, Rebirth Brass Band and MyNameIsJohnMichael.
The benefit concert is being sponsored by New Orleans radio station WWOZ-FM.
Tickets are $50 and are available exclusively via Elevate Tickets (www.elevate.com).
All Money from the concert will be managed and distributed by GULF AID in partnership with the radio station and will go to aid Louisiana fishermen and the regional seafood industry.
It looks like it will be a great show, if you can make it. My guess is, however, that many people in North Louisiana won't be able to make it.
It shouldn't matter whether of not you are able to attend — you can still give.
Donations of any size can be mailed to GULF AID, a 501 C3 non-profit corporation located at P.O. Box 6917, Metairie, La. 70009.
Despite the view that the rest of the world gets of the Bayou State through the lens of a television camera during Mardi Gras, I know more about Louisiana.
It's a place filled with good, Christian people who have more than once dropped money in the offering plate at church to help people in distant lands who find themselves in crisis.
Louisiana is our home and fishing is a big part of our heritage.
This is a cause worth giving to and giving will make a strong statement that we in Louisiana don't wait for government or lawyers to come around to make things better.
It will show that we take care of our own.