Coverage of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill by Noelle Leavitt and Jenn LeBlanc

Posts tagged “Long Beach

BP oil disaster swallows beaches in Mississippi

©2010 Jenn LeBlanc

By Noelle Leavitt

LONG BEACH, Miss. Paris Williams, 13 months, plays on the beach surrounded by globs of mousse tar balls on the sand and floating just below the surface of the water. All the dark brown spots visible on the sad are oil mousse. The girl picked up some of the mousse, and it stuck to the skin on her hand, wrist and around her mouth, and her grandmother couldn’t wash it off.
Photo by: Jenn LeBlanc/Iris Photo Agency.

Oily waters slowly crept onto the shore July 7, at Long Beach — near Gulfport and Biloxi, MS — where swimmers tried to enjoy the bright and sunny day despite the gloomy truth about the BP oil disaster.

Globs of oil muck started flowing onto the beach around 3 p.m., and by nightfall large sheets of oil slick started to swallow the white-sandy shore where thousands of visitors flock each year.

Ann Myers and her young granddaughter, Paris Williams, 1, waded in the water, only to find tar balls and glossy-oil mousse at their feet.

“I hate it. I think it’s just awful,” Myers said. “Because we always enjoyed coming here, and the grand babies can’t get out and play like they normally do.”

The little girl had oil smeared on her hands and neck from the contaminated water.

“She just picked up an oil ball. It was floating around in the water,” Myers said of her granddaughter.

The oily waters were deceiving to the eye, as many couldn’t decipher if the water was safe for swimming.

“It’s hard to see in the water,” said Greg May, Gulfport resident. “It’s really easy to see on the beach, though.”

Despite the obvious pollution, he still took a dip in the gulf.

“We’re going straight home to shower,” he said, adding that it’s really difficult not to get into the water despite the oil, because he loves the beach.

The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality had yet to close the foul waters from public use.

The scene was much worse around 9 p.m., when the oil slick nearly tripled in size, prompting local officials to increase the number of clean up crews on the shore.

Government officials also increased the clean up hours to a 24-hour cycle.

LONG BEACH, Miss. Ann Myers, and granddaughter Paris Williams, 13 months, play on the beach surrounded by globs of mousse tar balls on the sand and floating just below the surface of the water. The girl picked up some of the mousse, and it stuck to the skin on her hand, wrist and around her mouth, Myers couldn’t wash it off. Not far beyond where they played on the beach dozens of clean up workers in tyvek safety suits filled bags with the same oil mousse found where the child played.
Photo by: Jenn LeBlanc/Iris Photo Agency.
LONG BEACH, Miss. Ann Myers, and granddaughter Paris Williams, 13 months, play on the beach surrounded by globs of mousse tar balls on the sand and floating just below the surface of the water. Not far beyond where they played on the beach dozens of clean up workers in tyvek safety suits filled bags with the same oil mousse found where the child played.
Photo by: Jenn LeBlanc/Iris Photo Agency.

Workers clean the beach in Long Beach, Mississippi July 7, 2010. Photo by: Jenn LeBlanc/Iris Photo Agency

A heron fishes in Long Beach, Mississippi. Photo by: Jenn LeBlanc/Iris Photo Agency

A hermit crab sits on the beach drawn mostly into his shell. Dozens of these crabs littered the waters edge, surrounded by globs of mousse. Photo by: Jenn LeBlanc/Iris Photo Agency

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