If the oil comes

I could barely make out the shape of the city’s skyline though the smog. The nighttime lights bathed it in a sickly yellow glow, but there was the unmistakable arc of the Superdome and the twinkling curves of the Mississippi River bridge.

The boat bobbed gently on Lake Pontchartrain, the water below dark as crude. I don’t sail often, so I couldn’t help thinking that this could be the last time I see the lake this clean. Summer means hurricanes, and hurricanes mean that oil slick in the Gulf could be pushed our way, up into the rivers and lakes and bayous and marshes I’ve spent many summer evenings staring out over.

The lake has always been dirty. I remember learning what a syringe was as a kid because the shore near our house was littered with them. And I noticed every summer when we went fishing in Slidell, our catches would diminish. We clearly don’t need any help polluting out waterways.

The biggest shame, though, is that all we can do is sit here and wait, helpless, for the places we love to take a final spin around the toilet bowl.


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