By NBC Chief Environmental Affairs Correspondent Anne Thompson: After five months away in Louisiana, I returned to my desk in New York yesterday and found it buried in piles of mail—a spring and summer's worth of press releases, pitches, magazines, FedEx packages, and boxes...fortunately, none of the them ticking. One of those boxes contained the painting you see posted here. The artist is Mary Looney of New Orleans who commemorated my often worn blue blouse. It is a wonderful painting of what she calls the "magic blue blouse," with all the wonder of the Gulf Coast. She put in the porpoises, pelicans, crabs, fish, the marshes, an oil rig and the vessels of opportunity. I just love it!
The only thing missing are the people. The people along the coast, particularly everyone in Venice, Louisiana, where we lived, welcomed us and helped us tell the story of the oil spill. They shared their knowledge of the beautiful marshes and the rich fishing waters. They shared stories about fishing with their fathers and grandfathers, staying in lodges and camps that erosion and hurricanes had long washed away. And they told us of their heartbreak, their fears, their sleepless nights worrying that the water and land that have provided jobs and food for generations may never be right again.
This has always been a story first and foremost about people. From the 11 men who died on the Deepwater Horizon, to the fishermen and charter boat captains who still can't go back to work, to the families wondering how they will make ends meet, it is a story that is by no means over. Mary Looney's wonderful painting will remind me of that every day. Thank you for sending some of the magic of the Gulf to my desk in New York.