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Dispatches From Expedition Blue Planet: Shrimp and Grit on the Gulf Coast

By Tasha Eichenseher

From my desk in D.C., I’ve been tracking the Expedition Blue Planet bus as it makes its way across the country. And this week I finally got to meet up with Alexandra Cousteau and her team in the field.

I found them in Cut Off, Louisiana, an hour southwest of New Orleans. It’s a funny name for a town until you realize just how appropriate it is.

Cut Off is a close-knit community of fisherman and oil workers laboring long and dirty days in front of a backdrop of Wal-Mart-dominated strip malls, hurricane-ready homes and docks, and now oil spill recovery efforts.

The crew started work at 4:00 a.m. Thursday with a trip down the Dixie Delta Canal. Our guide: Scott St. Pierre, captain of the Mom and Dad, a shrimper-cum-vessel-of-opportunity. His good spirits were enough to distract me from the hummingbird-sized mosquitoes and the temperature and humidity, which, even at that godforsaken hour, were stifling.

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Photograph by Oscar Durand/Expedition Blue Planet

After our time with Scott, we traveled farther west, across the Grand Bayou to Pointe au Chien, where Louisiana Highway 665 disappears into a maze of battered wetlands, to meet with noted chemist and activist Wilma Subra.

Read the whole post.

Coverage of Expedition Blue Planet is part of a special National Geographic News series on the global water crisis.