Paul Prudhomme Surveys the Oil Spill’s Damage to Oysters


So many terrible losses will likely arise from the BP oil spill in the Gulf that it’s hard to wrap your mind around them all. Today, the Times focuses on one of them: Gulf oysters.

A small band of New Orleans chefs, including Paul Prudhomme, took boats out to oyster beds that have been closed because of the spill. For the time being, the bivalves are alive, but the oyster farmer sadly predicted that they’d be dead within two weeks. Waters that were once replete with shrimp boats are now empty.

Paul Prudhomme had this to say:

“I think I can speak for everybody — we all love it,” he said. … “Not to have it, or to see it destroyed, just would be a tragedy. I’ve been in Louisiana all my life, and my family’s been here since 1760. And we’ve always lived off the land — farmers and fishermen. It’s just sad to see what could happen here.”

Dickie Brennan, from the famous family of New Orleans restaurateurs, noted that oysters are affordable in Louisiana because the beds are plentiful and close by.

“Everyone,” he said, “can buy an oyster po’ boy.”

For the time being, at least.

[The New York Times]