Oil Cleanup Brings Strangers, Tension to Towns

By: Vicki Smith
By: Vicki Smith

GRAND ISLE, La. (AP) - The women of Grand Isle are nervous. Used
to be, they say, they could walk the streets of their beachside town alone.

Now, a waitress won't let her 14-year-old daughter stroll to the store, a souvenir shop owner is afraid to sit on her porch after dark and a bartender deadbolts her door, a newly purchased gun nearby.

The vacationing families and sport fishermen who make this tourist town of 1,500 what it is are absent this summer, replaced by an army of workers brought in by BP to clean up the massive Gulf Coast oil spill.

A BP official says some culture clash is understandable, though he's occasionally seen outright racial bias at work. But talk to some of the mostly white residents, and they don't directly mention the skin color of the workers, most of whom are black.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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