The speaker here on the right calls himself “Moose” — I never caught his full name — and works as liaison between Grand Isle and BP. He’s quite a storyteller, though not quite in Chris Hernandez’s league, & also a charmer. David C. mentioned, perhaps b/c we were in the basketball gym, that he’s been helping out with the high school team, which seems to be a point of pride for Grand Isle. Moose is a Southerner, though not from Louisiana, & I gather he’s been on the island for a few months, helping negotiate financial settlements and smooth over relations between the BP cleanup workers and the local population.
To borrow a Shakespearean coinage, I would trust him as an adder fanged.
His job is to make people happy,to reassure them that BP will “put things right” and support everyone on the ground. I don’t doubt, I suppose, that he might well be a decent man. He certainly has a strong dose of physical charisma & charm. To hear David tell it, he’s managed over the past few months to make himself a part of the Grand Isle community.
Like so much down there, seeing Moose reminded me of my first experience with the aftermath of a major North American oil spill, when I was working on the clean up of the Exxon Valdez in Alaska the summer of 1989, right after I graduated from college. I’ll try to do another post later on the Moose-equivalent I knew up there, whose name was Rex. I got to know him pretty well, since we all lived together that summer on the Fv. Optimus Prime, a king crab boat temporarily housing clean up workers. Another charmer, but I did, by chance, get to hear a little truth from him.
“Corporations are like children,” said Ken Well, a bayou-bred novelist and author of a great book about the aftermath of Katrina, The Good Pirates of the Forgotten Bayous (Yale, 2008), to me in an email a few days ago. He meant that you have to hold them to their promises b/c, given the chance, they’ll walk away if you stop watching, as Exxon ultimately did after its cleanup. I’d like to think that BP, whose spill was in a much more visible and populated part of the US, won’t be able to do that. It certainly was a shrewd move by Obama to get them to pony up a huge cash fund up front. But I wonder. Why would a man like Moose really stick around?
It’s apropos that your picture has these three individuals on a stage as though they are giving a performance as it seems by your descriptions of them that they are truly “players” on the world’s stage. I’m always fascinated by these types of personalities that seem to live the drama of life through their personas.
Steve Mentz says
Don’t we all perform ourselves that way? I agree that the stage makes the point esp obvious in this case. But it also seems true to me that each of use operates daily through and in certain dramatic & narrative forms. Is that something I need to argue about with a room full of English grad students?