NEW ORLEANS — In a historic gathering, Gulf Coast residents devastated by the BP oil spill will join 9/11 first responders, victims of the Exxon Valdez  oil spill, and survivors of hurricanes Katrina and Rita to share lessons on preparing for future disasters from 1:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010. The event starts with a 1:30 meetup at the Creole Queen riverboat at the foot of Canal Street. (See schedule below.)
Outraged by what they believe is BP and the government’s inappropriate and slow response to the Gulf oil spill, this event will, for the first time, join concerned citizens with non-profit organizations for an exchange of ideas on community-led action, in response to the immediate and long-term health, environmental and economic impacts of the BP oil disaster.
“Almost 200 years ago the Battle of New Orleans united an otherwise disparate group of people in a common cause,” said Cherri Foytlin, journalist and wife of an oil worker. “The Gulf oil spill is having a similar effect—it’s uniting our communities to take action for ourselves, but solutions can only be found by first telling the American people the truth about the severity of the problem.”
Gulf coast fishermen, oil spill clean-up workers and oil field workers will reveal firsthand accounts of environmental and health hazards they faced in response to the oil spill.
“This man-made disaster has completely decimated our Gulf coast fisheries and rendered them unsafe,” said Karen Hopkins, seafood industry worker and community organizer. It is irresponsible for our government to have given the green light to fishing, when we know most of the oil is still out there.”
With an active hurricane season, leaders hope this historic meeting will provide a roadmap to community-led action in response to averting future disasters. For more information, contact Cherri Foytlin at (337) 393-2219.
Battle of New Orleans Events Schedule:
1:30 p.m. : Oil spill and hurricane survivors and 9/11 first responders’ meeting to take place in Creole Queen Riverboat  at the foot of Canal Street. Group will meet the press at the historic Chalmette Battlefield .
7:30 p.m. : Sunset community prayer vigil in Jackson Square in honor of those impacted by the BP oil spill, the Exxon Valdez spill, and the 9/11 attacks.
8:30 p.m. : Benefit concert at Tipitina’s  (233 North Peters Street, French Quarter). Proceeds will go to Gulf coast residents and environmental groups. The concert is the official release party for Drew Landry’s song, “BP Blues.” Other bands include: Clarence “Tadpole” Henry, son of New Orleans legend Frogman Henry, and Bruce Dagrepont with the Frishberg Family band, Michael Juan Nunez, Folk band Sasafraz, Mike Dean, and Kevin Sehkani.
Gulf Coast Community and Visiting Leaders and Speakers:
Kindra Arnesen (LA) : Community activist and wife of fisherman who has been voice of Venice, Louisiana during the spill.
Drew Wheelan (WA) : American Birding Association coordinator who has been tracking numbers of wildlife killed or injured by the spill.
Karen Hopkins (LA) : Founder of “Support Our Country’s Commercial Fishermen,” staffer with Dean Blanchard Seafood, a major wholesale supplier in the Gulf, and outspoken critic of the spill’s damage to the Gulf seafood industry.
Lorrie and Bubba Williams (MS) : Crab fishermen, have been documenting and exposing oil spill impact on Mississippi coastline.
Cherri Foytlin (LA) : Wife of oil worker, addressed the Oil Spill Commission and has publicly reached out to President Obama to meet with Gulf coast residents.
Glenn Reed (AK) : President of Pacific Seafood Processors Association, Exxon Valdez survivor.
Steve Minors (AK) : Executive Director of the North Pacific Crab Association, Exxon Valdez survivor.
Richard Skinner (NY) : 9/11 First Responder, Fealgood Foundation representative.
See Levees Not War’s coverage of the BP Oil Flood here .