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Shades of gray: LSU researcher studies South Louisiana's historical ties to the oil industry
Date:4/20/2011

and moral questions, about the past, present and future of oil dependency at the local level. Many people have lost their jobs or taken new jobs, which has transformed the daily lives of some hardworking families."

Pasquier's documentary project takes him all over southern Louisiana, interviewing residents about their lives and their heritage on the coast.

"They notice cultural changes that are connected to oil. Many are dependent on oil to work, but the price of gas and the environmental costs of the oil spill have driven many independent fishermen out of business," he said. "For some families in coastal Louisiana, this is the first time anyone is looking to the future with the understanding that their children and grandchildren won't grow up in their current communities they know all too well that their way of life is changing."

For example, every year the people of Golden Meadow, like many fishing communities in South Louisiana, conduct the blessing of the shrimp fleet ceremony. But this year, with increased fuel costs and the lasting impact of the oil spill, some of those communities have seriously considered cancelling the decades-old tradition.

"The Deepwater Horizon oil disaster harmed an already declining fishing industry, so church members were already asking themselves, 'will we do this again this year? Or the next?'" he said. "Fewer and fewer people participate, in part because fewer and fewer people are able to make a living from fishing or shrimping."

The problems of coastal erosion and land loss also hit these communities hard. In response, Pasquier and the LSU Coastal Sustainability Studio reached out in order to teach students, educate the public and work with scholars and policy makers to conduct a major research project titled "Measured Change: Tracking Transformations on Bayou Lafourche."

The project is being conducted by an interdisciplinary team of scholars committed to understanding how a resi
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Contact: Ashley K. Berthelot
aberth4@lsu.edu
225-278-8694
Louisiana State University
Source:Eurekalert

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