Oil Spill Protest, New Orleans-style

Members of the Krewe of Dead Pelicans protest parade march though the New Orleans arts district June 5, 2010 in frustration over the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Here a group carries a coffin signifying the death of the fragile Gulf ecosystem. (Photo by Andrew Boyd / Copyright 2010)

Members of the Krewe of Dead Pelicans protest parade march though the New Orleans arts district June 5, 2010 in frustration over the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Here a group carries a coffin signifying the death of the fragile Gulf ecosystem. (Photo by Andrew Boyd / Copyright 2010)

New Orleans is America’s most unique and wonderful city, and right now we are under siege.  This time it’s coming not from hurricane winds but from an oily black death a mile below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico. The BP oil spill has now continued for over six weeks, with no real relief in site any time soon, and people here are getting really, really mad. The sense of frustration and powerlessness can be overwhelming at times, leaving one in a deep and dark funk. But that’s what led local real estate agent Ro Mayer to decide there was something she could do: she’d stage a New Orleans second line protest parade. Hence was born the Krewe of Dead Pelicans.

A ‘krewe’ usually refers to a Carnival (Mardi Gras) organization.  This one was organized a little quicker and looser, all starting with a Facebook page. Mayer put the idea up on her FB wall and before she knew it, she had a protest krewe with over 4000 FB members!

The parade was held Saturday night in the New Orleans arts district, winding for several blocks through the area and ending up on the steps of historic Gallier Hall, New Orleans’ former City Hall. About 300 or so people showed up to march.

In addition to traditional New Orleans funeral dirges and chants of ‘Stop the Oil, Save the Gulf!’, Mayer made a point of remembering the 11 workers killed on the oil rig when it blew up with 11 minutes of silence.

It was a typical steamy, humid, New Orleans June evening. Everybody was sweating through their clothes, but nobody was complaining…it just felt good to be doing something!

Here are some photos from the event.

A parade marcher carries an AP photo sign of an oil pelican while wearing a pelican skull costume. (Photo by Andrew Boyd / Copyright 2010)

A parade marcher carries an AP photo sign of an oil pelican while wearing a pelican skull costume. (Photo by Andrew Boyd / Copyright 2010)

This man wears a BP death mask. (Photo by Andrew Boyd / Copyright 2010)

This man wears a BP death mask. (Photo by Andrew Boyd / Copyright 2010)

This marcher carries a sign referencing the Minerals Management Service (MMS) scandal that broke last year when it was discovered that MMS staffers were trading drugs and sex with oil industry lobbyists. (Photo by Andrew Boyd / Copyright 2010)ex with oil industry lobbyists. (Photo by Andrew Boyd / Copyright 2010)

Like all New Orleans second line parades, this one had a ragtag brass band to lead it in all of the traditional New Orleans funeral marches. (Photo by Andrew Boyd / Copyright 2010)

Like all New Orleans second line parades, this one had a ragtag brass band to lead it in all of the traditional New Orleans funeral marches. (Photo by Andrew Boyd / Copyright 2010)

Five friends march in matching pelican headdresses. (Photo by Andrew Boyd / Copyright 2010)

Five friends march in matching pelican headdresses. (Photo by Andrew Boyd / Copyright 2010)

This man carries a sign with a simple message. (Photo by Andrew Boyd / Copyright 2010)

This man carries a sign with a simple message. (Photo by Andrew Boyd / Copyright 2010)

A marcher in a pelican skull costume. (Photo by Andrew Boyd / Copyright 2010)

A marcher in a pelican skull costume. (Photo by Andrew Boyd / Copyright 2010)

Hi, I’m Andrew Boyd, a.k.a. The Discerning Photographer, and I hope this post has been interesting and informative. Please leave me a comment about it, let me know what you’d like to see more of on the site! You can also sign up for email delivery of all future articles or my RSS feed. Thanks!–DiscerningPhotog

Related articles on the web:

John Mesnzer’s Youtube video on the march

Ro Mayer, founder of the Krewe of Dead Pelicans at Nola.com

Doug McCash’s video on the march at Nola.com

Slideshow of Michael DeMocker photos at Nola.com

Posted in: Gallery

About the Author:

Photographer, videographer and photo editor. Host and creator of The Discerning Photographer web site. Currently a Canon shooter.

9 Comments on "Oil Spill Protest, New Orleans-style"

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  1. Marco Fiori says:

    Stark images Andrew, well captured!

  2. vitamin says:

    I really enjoy when a lot of people gather up and start to protest, shows that people actually care and don’t just sit in their couch doing nothing.
    Great pictures aswell, what camera are you using?

  3. Glad you like the photos, Vitamin. These were taken with a Canon EOS Mark IV.

  4. Manny says:

    Very cool Andrew, just getting into it myself, thanks for sharing which camera you used… do you have a 2nd favorite?

  5. Any decent camera would do. I prefer Canon and Nikon myself. Check around the ‘Equipment’ link at the top of the page and you’ll find several camera reviews. Good luck!

  6. Glenebay says:

    Nice photos! Honestly, I enjoyed watching the people gather. I know they are tired but I think they enjoy of what they are doing.. postscript, nice capturing.

  7. Cheska says:

    Thanks for sharing this.I really enjoy when a lot of people gather up and start to protest, shows that people actually care about there environment. Thanks also for the photos, I really like it.

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