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?