June 2nd, 2010
06:59 PM ET

Reporter's Notebook: Speaking out to protect a way of life

Dr. Sanjay Gupta | BIO
AC360° Contributor
CNN Chief Medical Correspondent

Program Note: See Dr. Sanjay Gupta's full report tonight on AC 360° tonight at 10 pm ET

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/US/06/02/gulf.oil.spill/c1main.oilspill.jpg]

Like many people living in south Louisiana, Acy Cooper is a third generation shrimper. When I shook his hand, you could feel the calluses from years spent out on the boat, and his 49-year-old face was weathered, just as you might expect in a man who spends most of his waking hours in the middle of the ocean. Shrimping is the only life he has ever known. He even made a crack about the movie character in “Forest Gump,” who rattles off all the different ways to prepare shrimp – “shrimp is the fruit of the sea, you can barbeque it, boil it, broil it, bake it, …”

Our conversation quickly turned serious, though. After spending days deliberating, Acy finally decided to speak out. Up until now, no fisherman working for BP has sat down for an interview with CNN. Acy says he wants to tell people about what is happening 50 miles out at sea, where oil has turned the water black. He wants to tell the stories of his workers, several hundred of them, who were fisherman, but now, temporarily work for BP. He wanted me to know that people are getting sick, and very little is being done to protect them.

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Filed under: Gulf Oil Spill • Reporter's Notebook
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Samantha Rowley

    Sanjay, your special (which was very good by the way) on 'Toxic Towns USA' just finished and I am thinking that the gulf area (made of many small towns) is now on the list as toxic. I heard workers were getting sick over the weekend with some being hospitalized. With the compounded issues on dealing with this crisis mounting each day with the main focus of capping the well, I have wondered all along how this will affect the health of those residents in the long run (the air they breath and the water drink). Will this become another 'toxic town'?

    June 2, 2010 at 9:05 pm |
  2. Annie Kate

    BP ought to be smarter than how they are doing – any worker that gets a long-term or short-term illness after working in the clean-up is naturally going to think it was that work and exposure that made them sick and they are going to expect BP to pay for it; if BP issues the safety gear now then it would be harder later on to prove negligence to the workers safety. At least it would seem so to me. With every act or omission BP has done so far they are building their own coffin so to speak – the Gulf may never recover from this but BP may not either.

    June 2, 2010 at 7:29 pm |