Oil and Water

This documentary explores the complex relationship between coastal Cajuns in Louisiana and the oil and gas industry. It follows the Terrebone family and their seafood business. This family’s devotion to seafood began many years ago and has been thriving for many generations. But now they continue to support deep-water drilling even after the much-publicized BP Oil Spill that began on April 20, 2010 and dumped 200 million gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico for 87 days.

George Terrebone’s great great grandfather started shrimping and handed down the trade to his son and grandson. Nevertheless when George left Louisiana when he joined the service he honestly never expected to go back. However his wife, Carrol Terrebone had vowed to someday return to her beloved land and never leave again. Once back in Louisiana George eventually gravitated towards the seafood industry and now he wants to pass his business on to his kids.

Today there are three times fewer fishermen than there were in 1980, when 80% of the nation’s seafood was caught domestically. But now with 80% coming from imports, the seafood industry is no longer the livelihood that it once was. Although fishing is endemic to the Cajun culture, it now lies in the shadow of the oil industry. Even though many continue to earn a living from fishing in Louisiana, the oil industry is a big resource for good-paying jobs. Thousands of miles of canals remain as scars of Louisiana’s long history with drilling for fossil fuels.

To Cajuns the oil industry is more than just a source of good jobs. Their creativity and knowledge of the land made a great contribution to the development of the offshore drilling industry. Many men work in the oil industry and then go fishing or shrimping the few hours they have left in the day.

Port Fourchon services about 18% of the nation’s entire oil supply. Facilities such as this one provide jobs and contracts to local businesses, which means a steady income stream. Although fishing is no longer the most common occupation in Louisiana, many Cajuns continue to shrimp, crab, and oyster regularly. To many it’s just a beloved habit that started when they were young children.

Carol and George’s kids want to stay in Louisiana forever; not one of them talks about moving away to another city and a different lifestyle. What is it that drives their passion?

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