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.


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.

Changing Planet


Meet the Author
More than forty years in U.S., UK, and South African media gives David Max Braun global perspective and experience across multiple storytelling platforms. His coverage of science, nature, politics, and technology has been published/broadcast by the BBC, CNN, NPR, AP, UPI, National Geographic, TechWeb, De Telegraaf, Travel World, and Argus South African Newspapers. He has published two books and won several journalism awards. In his 22-year career at National Geographic he was VP and editor in chief of National Geographic Digital Media, and the founding editor of the National Geographic Society blog, hosting a global discussion on issues resonating with the Society's mission and initiatives. He also directed the Society side of the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship, awarded to Americans seeking the opportunity to spend nine months abroad, engaging local communities and sharing stories from the field with a global audience. A regular expert on National Geographic Expeditions, David also lectures on storytelling for impact. He has 120,000 followers on social media: Facebook  Twitter  LinkedIn