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Anders Bekeken

Oil & Water: An Oil Documentary Like No Other

Geschreven op 13-10-2015 - Erik van Erne. Geplaatst in Energie en Besparing, Milieu Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

Oil & WaterAn oil documentary like no other, Oil & Water explores the complex relationship between coastal Cajuns in Louisiana and the oil and gas industry, following a family and their seafood business as they continue to support deepwater drilling in the wake of the BP oil spill, the worst oil spill in U.S. history.

Oil & Water follows a Cajun family in the years following the BP oil spill. Despite coming close to losing their shrimp processing business, they remained in support of the oil and gas industry, which has become part of Cajun culture over the course of its more than hundred-year history in the state. But as compounding factors related to oil and gas production threaten the seafood, their livelihood, and the very land they live on, they are forced to deal with the harsh reality that their way of life may be in jeopardy.

The Cajuns, who descend from the Acadians (French settlers who arrived in what is now Nova Scotia during the 1630s), migrated to Louisiana in the late 18th century after being forcibly deported by the British. During their time in Canada and later for more than a hundred years in Louisiana, they were  isolated from the outside world, developing their own version of French, music and other cultural standards.  Once settled in Louisiana, however, their struggle was far from over.  From hurricanes to the assault on their very language by the enactment of english-only public school laws in the U.S., their embattled culture would continue to be shaped by their environment and the many cultures of those who settled around them.

When the oil industry arrived on the Louisiana coast, Cajuns were already living off the land, hunting, trapping and fishing.  They quickly found jobs and started boat companies and eventually went on to play an important role in pioneering offshore drilling, which now accounts for much of oil production across the globe.  Deepwater in the Gulf of Mexico was responsible for about 11 percent of total U.S. oil production the year of the BP spill and by 2014, there were 60 percent more deepwater leases than before the spill.

For the Terrebonnes and many Cajuns, the oil and gas industry ushered their culture into the 20th century, bringing higher paying jobs, allowing children to attend high school and college, and raising the standard of living. The Terrebonne’s story is told in the context of the broader history of Cajuns and the oil industry, from its first migration to Louisiana from Texas in the early 1900?s to the emergence of deepwater technology in the 1980?s and on up through the BP disaster and aftermath, offering a unique perspective at the complex relationship between the industry, fishing and residents of the coast.

Relying on a series of searing and honest interviews with area residents who represent all sides of the issue, Oil & Water presents this conflict with great compassion and empathy.

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