The Gulf Live


Written by Adam Shapiro, FOX Business Network correspondent who has been reporting live from Pensacola Beach, FL, Orange Beach, AL and in the Louisiana marshes, on the BP Gulf Oil Spill: Hot, humid and horrible. The Gulf Coast beaches are among the best in the world especially if you like hot and humid. But everyone has seen the pictures and video of the oil destroying the Louisiana marshes, wildlife, beaches and it is horrible.
Equally horrible is what everyone along the Gulf Coast is experiencing even if the oil hasn't hit their marshes or beaches. There's a two mile wide 40 mile long oil slick anywhere from a half a mile to five miles off shore and some of it washes up every day on the Florida Panhandle and Alabama beaches.
I took some pictures with my blackberry of the oil on Orange Beach Alabama. Crews cleaned it up quickly but the damage was done. People are afraid to vacation on the Gulf Coast and the businesses from New Orleans to Destin are suffering even if the oil hasn't washed up. Governor Riley from Alabama told me that nobody wants to visit a beach resort if there's the slightest chance they can't go swimming. Julian MacQueen owns several hotels along the Gulf and he told me that bookings going into the summer season were up 20 percent over 2009.
Last year was especially hard on the Gulf's tourist industry because of the recession so they were hoping to turn things around this year. But now, along the coast people are canceling their reservations and bookings are down in some places as much as 50%. The beaches are open in Alabama and Florida but the vacationers are afraid and staying away.
Then there are the sport and commercial fisherman who are all idled in Louisiana. They're eager to get back out on the water but equally worried about the long term impact on their business and sport. The best way any of us can help is to go visit the Gulf Coast. Despite the threat, the Gulf of Mexico Loop current seems to be keeping the worst of it off shore and the beaches are open.
Meanwhile, back near Buras, Louisiana and Grand Terre, the situation seems to be getting worse, according to Ducks Unlimited Mike Checket who visited the area last week. Here are some of his photos.

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