Sign of the Times


Peggy Pierrepont

While New Orleans and the Louisiana coast waits for what damage the oil spill--as of today, the largest in US history--will do to its fish and seafood, neighboring states like Florida are advertising their clean beaches (though maybe not for long), and restaurants in Mississippi are gloating—like the one displaying this sandwich board, which my friend Peggy Pierrepont, ever alert to the signs of every sort in and around her adopted home of Natchez, sent to me the second she saw it, the other night.

Certainly, the anger and apprehension are real and well-placed—John Besh forcefully expressed his frustration here at the delay in a federal response, and the Secretary of Commerce, Gary Locke, declared the Gulf of Mexico an official disaster area.

Brett Anderson, the Times-Picayune restaurant critic and a friend visiting Boston, described last night the symbiotic relationship between the oil and fishing industries, without which Louisiana could hardly exist. The offer Besh described on the Atlantic Food Channel, of shrimpers and oystermen standing by ready to volunteer their shallow-water boats to help disperse the oil, goes deeper than good will or self-preservation, Anderson said: "All of them have relatives in oil. They need the industry to survive."

As they, and we, wait to see if this latest, oddly named effort by BP works, you can go to Natchez and order safe seafood—as, of course, you can now in New Orleans too.