I wanted to say something accurate yet provocative on my poster for the BP Rally and Protest today at Jackson Square New Orleans. I finally decided on “BP slept with MMS.”
I wanted to spotlight what President Obama called “a scandalous relationship” between the oil companies and regulators such as Minerals Management Services (MMS).
I chose the color of blood for the words “BP” and “MMS.” But my neck hurt so much after 45 minutes of hovering on the floor over a posterboard that I didn’t color in the words ‘slept with’ and simply left them as outlines. I’m feeling my age.
But I felt young again on Jackson Square New Orleans. The crowd was engaged, motivated and angry. The energy was unified and palpable. Even in extremely volatile weather, with several downpours, the crowd was steadfast and captivated.
I was impressed by how well orchestrated and organized the event was. Successful rallies, I have learned, are dependent on planning and good old fashioned work.
I was approached by several members of the media. The first was Nicole Santa Cruz with the Los Angeles Times. I told Nicole that engineers and lax federal oversight are at the center of both the 2005 New Orleans Flood and the BP Oil Debacle.
“Here again, due to the carelessness of engineers and the lack of federal oversight, a large portion of south Louisiana is laid waste,” I told her.
A short time later, Allen Johnson Jr. with the Baton Rouge Advocate approached me. I felt a flashback because it was Mr. Johnson who wrote a superb story about Levees.org’s very first kick-off rally 4 and 1/2 years ago. He described the rally as seen through the eyes of my 15-year old son. But I didn’t mention that. I answered his questions about the BP protest, my presence, and why I chose to focus on MMS.
I know from my experience leading Levees.org that the hope lies with the citizens. As one of today’s BP rally speakers pointed out, BP does not answer to us. But our elected officials do. And the power of our collective voice can prevail over even the deepest pockets and fattest wallets.
There lies the hope. It has worked before, and it will work again.
Our thanks to Sandy for reporting for NOLAFemmes.