VENICE, La. (BP)--Residents in the small shrimping community of Venice, La., are uncertain about their future amid reporters who have crowded into the state's southernmost town to cover the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
"It's pretty much chaos. We have people from all over the country here -- lots of reporters. I've talked to reporters from Spain and from Germany. The president's motorcade came down the other day," Steve McNeal, pastor of First Baptist Mission in Venice, told Baptist Press May 4.
At the same time, people who have relied on the shrimping industry and the sports fishing industry in Venice to earn an income fear the blows that could be dealt to their businesses.
"There are folks not knowing where their next dollar is coming from," McNeal, who also works as a firefighter, said. "One good thing is that there are a lot of cleanup jobs. It's hard, dirty work, but money is coming in. So I guess some folks that haven't even had jobs in the past are now getting jobs."
British Petroleum, the company that leased the offshore oil rig that exploded April 20 and sank to the ocean floor, now is hiring locals to help remove the oil as it threatens the marshes and shorelines of the Gulf Coast.
"A lot of these folks have been shrimping all their lives, and now they're going to have to do something else. All they've ever wanted to do is shrimp, so there's an emotional trauma, I guess, as well as some folks just not knowing what's going to happen tomorrow or next week," McNeal said.
On Tuesday, the oil had not yet reached Venice, and the most obvious ways the town had been affected by the spill were that the hotels, restaurants and streets were full of media representatives attempting to relay the story to the rest of the world, the pastor said. Read More