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Here’s How You Can Help:

My father spent his entire professional career working for an oil company and many of my friends and family members work in the industry today. My father’s sister runs a successful shrimp company based out of Delcambre, La., that was started by her father over 50 years ago. I grew up fishing in the Gulf waters and spent many family vacations in Grand Isle, La., and every year, like many Louisianans, I vacation on the Emerald Coast off the Florida Panhandle.

You probably know where this blog is going. And it’s not about branding or marketing. Yes, I’m talking about the man-made disaster in the Gulf. My brief history is to give you my perspective. The oil and gas industry is the driving force of Louisiana’s economy. It is important and without it thousands of families and businesses, including BBR, would take the hit. On the other hand, the Gulf bounty also serves to fulfill the livelihoods and adventurous sides of hundreds — fishermen, oystermen and tourism. And I would be remiss not to mention the fragile ecosystem.

So it’s hard for me to take the position of pro-this and anti-that when my entire life has been greatly impacted by both industries. I am appreciative and thankful for both. (I will state, however, that I am pro-contingency plan!)

This blog is to give you an avenue to help.

I have reached the point where I cannot watch the news. I cannot click on another link to view a suffering, oil-drenched pelican. Water-cooler discussions infuriate me. So when I got a call from Gulf Aid Acadiana co-founder Valerie Gonsoulin asking me to attend a planning meeting, I readily obliged. I just needed to help any way that I could.

Gulf Aid Acadiana, is a community response to the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil-drilling catastrophe. Founded by friends Valerie Gonsoulin, Todd Mouton and Zachary Richard for their Louisiana friends, Gulf Aid Acadiana’s mission is to assist fisherman and their families and to help rebuild the ecosystem in the future. The fisherman live on meager earnings — and the catastrophe we face stands to ruin their lives. Gulf Aid Acadiana was founded to help them survive.

Zachary so eloquently stated the purpose of Gulf Aid Acadiana in a June 2 blog post on his website: “We hope to contribute to the restoration of the coast by raising funds and raising consciousness. I am not sure how we will achieve our goals. No one has any experience with anything of this nature. We are obliged to create this project out of nothing except our sincere desire to help the people of Louisiana overcome the tremendous hardship which they face and to restore the wetlands and the communities which depend upon them.”

Gulf Aid Acadiana’s purpose is not political — they simply want to help. I invite you to do the same by visiting and making a donation. The BP disaster is pretty much out of our hands. But the ability to help those most directly affected lies right at our fingertips.