Coastal Rundown: A 'BP, Pay Up!' Protest

Apr 23, 2015

The Gulf South Rising Coalition led a march and rally to raise awareness of ongoing impacts in the Gulf of Mexico five years after the BP oil spill.
Credit Jesse Hardman / WWNO

It's been five years since the 2010 BP oil spill. On the day of the actual anniversary, a march and rally took place in the Central Business District to commemorate the people and places impacted by the spill. Marchers went from Lafayette Square to Jackson Square, dressed in all black to represent the 210 million gallons of oil that spilled into the Gulf of Mexico.

The main message of the rally was to point out the ongoing damages the Gulf is experiencing five years after the spill, and that BP still owes lots of money to gulf communities. Gulf South Rising, a coalition of community organizations in the region, led the rally, presented a bill of $279 billion that they say BP owes the Gulf:

Credit Jesse Hardman / WWNO

People carried signs and chanted the statements in unison:

Credit Jesse Hardman / WWNO

Some people got more creative with costumes and accessories, like Renate Heurich, who dressed as an oiled pelican:

Credit Jesse Hardman / WWNO

And this guy, who wore a satirical cleanup suit:

A man wears an oiled cleanup suit that says 'Bad Planning' under the BP logo.
Credit Jesse Hardman / WWNO

People came out for the same cause, but had different reasons. Melanie Miranda came out to the rally after being frustrated by all of the BP commercials she sees on television that say the Gulf is "better than ever:"

In opposition to those claims made by BP, this guy went to Grand Isle the morning of the rally and brought back tar balls from the beach:

Credit Jesse Hardman / WWNO

The march ended at the amphitheater next to Café Du Monde across from Jackson Square. Speakers included Colette Pichon-Battle of the Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy, Bette Billiot, representing the United Houma Nation, Monique Harden from Advocates for Environmental Human Rights, and Minh Nguyen on behalf of VAYLA New Orleans.

Protesters hold a banner that reads 'Capitalism has no horizon: Abandon ship!"
Credit Jesse Hardman / WWNO

Check out all the BP anniversary coverage from The Coastal Desk:

Jesse Hardman’s interview with Billy Nunngesser, a local feature story on oil industry safety standards, and a national feature story on oil industry safety standards.

Laine Kaplan-Levenson filed stories on the Gulf seafood industry for: WWNOMarketplace and NPR.

Plus, Eileen Fleming’s story on millions of dead birds.