Monday, April 20, 2015: Twenty years ago, Timothy McVeigh set off a truck bomb at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. 168 people were killed in that shocking and tragic event, and thousands of lives were changed forever. Bob visits the site and talks with Bud Welch who lost his daughter in the blast. We also hear from Amy Petty who survived the explosion and was rescued from the rubble that day. Petty worked for the Federal Employees Credit Union, which lost 18 of its 33 employees in the bombing.
Tuesday, April 21, 2015: Five years ago was the first full day of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The explosion killed 11 workers on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig and would release roughly 200 million gallons of oil over the next three months. The spill caused billions of dollars in damage to the shorelines of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida – killing sea life and impacting fisheries in the region. Bob talks with environmentalists Richard Charter and Jacqueline Savitz about the rules and regulations for maintaining an offshore oil rig, the recovery effort, and the impact of the leak on the environment. Patrick Jeffries is a superintendant for EPIC Divers & Marine, which provides commercial diving and marine services world-wide, including gas and oil platform and pipeline service, well repair, and underwater inspection and construction. Jeffries discusses life as a commercial diver just after the 2010 spill. Then, Bob talks with Abrahm Lustgarten covered the spill for Pro Publica, the Pulitzer Prize-winning web-based newsroom for investigative journalism. He wrote a book based on his reporting titled Run to Failure: BP and the Making of The Deepwater Horizon Disaster.
Wednesday, April 22, 2015: For the rest of the week, we’ll revisit our reporting trips to southeastern Louisiana in the wake of the BP oil spill in 2010. Bob talks with Mark Schleifstein, a reporter for the Times Picayune, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his post-Katrina coverage, and who has been writing about the effects of the oil and gas industry on the Louisiana marshland. Next, Bob visits with Emily Guidry Schatzel of the National Wildlife Federation about how her group is worked alongside the government in the clean-up effort. Bob also talks with state and federal wildlife biologists Todd Baker and Sharon Taylor about the efforts to rescue, clean and relocate the animals affected by the spill. Then, we’ll visit the bird rehabilitation center at Fort Jackson, where we saw dozens of brown pelicans that had been cleaned and nursed back to health.
Thursday, April 23, 2015: Today we head back to the bayou to get a firsthand look at the marshes and swamps that are so important to coastal Louisiana’s culture and ecology. Denise Reed is a professor at the University of New Orleans, and she’s been studying the wetlands for decades, monitoring loss and imagining ways to grow new land. Tab Benoit is concerned about wetlands loss, but you won’t find him lecturing about it in a classroom. Benoit is a blues singer from Houma and a founder of the group Voice of the Wetlands. He’ll take Bob on a boat ride through the swamps — both healthy and depleted.
Friday, April 24, 2015: Today we explore how the 2010 BP oil spill affected the culture and the seafood industry of the Gulf Coast. Bob talks with Mike Voisin of Motavatit Seafoods in Houma and tours his plant as workers process the much smaller than usual harvest of oysters. Then we visit with Charlie Robin on his boat. At this time in 2010, the fifth generation shrimper from Yscloskey, Louisiana had traded his shrimp nets for oil boom and was working for BP to skim the oil and save his future. In Larose, Bob talks with John Serigny who’s been hunting ducks in the area for almost five decades. But as their wetland habitat disappears, so do the ducks.