It’s now been a year since the BP gusher started gushing. The leak was plugged up, but the mess isn’t gone. Meet some of the people whose lives have been turned upside-down by the BP disaster. Photos and audio came out of a collaboration between the Natural Resources Defense Council, StoryCorps, and Bridge the Gulf.

Hollie and Chad LeJeune

Hollie and Chad LeJeune.Photo: Cary Conover

“It was like grieving for a death. You guys had worked so hard and had built this wonderful business, and then in six weeks time — it was gone.”

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Watch an audio slideshow of Chad LeJeune talking with his mother, Hollie LeJeune, about the BP oil disaster’s effects on their lives and their seafood business in coastal Alabama.


Acy Cooper

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Acy Cooper.Photo: Lisa Whiteman

“It hurts to see how something like this can divide your community.”

Watch an audio slideshow of fisherman Acy Cooper talking about BP hiring practices, seafood safety, and the effect the oil disaster has had on his community.


Rosina Philippe

Portrait.Photo: Lisa Whiteman

“I don’t know if in four-five-ten years from now, I’ll still be able to eat oysters, shrimp, fish, crab … “

Watch an audio slideshow of Rosina and Geraldine Philippe of the Atakapa Tribe talking about life before the spill, and how their community responded to the BP oil disaster.


Gage and William Swann

Portrait.Photo: Cary Conover

“I’m wondering if you guys ever thought, ‘This is over. This is the last time I’m going to surf here.’?”

Watch an audio slideshow of Tom Herder talking with William and Gage Swann about the BP oil disaster’s effects on their lives, and their love of surfing in coastal Alabama.


Darla and Todd Rooks

Portrait.Photo: Lisa Whiteman

“And they want to tell me to eat the seafood? Why don’t they eat the seafood? I’ll go catch them and I’ll throw BP a big old boil … I’m not eating it.”

Watch an audio slideshow of Darla and Todd Rooks talking about the devastating impact of the BP oil disaster on their fishing community.


Harry Shearer


“Other countries are going to take the lead [in clean energy] and we’re going to follow. But that’s what a declining empire does. I, for one, look forward to our new Chinese overlords.”

Listen to audio of satirist Harry Shearer talking about the Gulf oil disaster.


J.J. Creppel

Portrait.Photo: Lisa Whiteman

“It look like BP gonna convert me from a fisherman into a farmer just to see that my family got food on the table.”

Watch an audio slideshow of J.J. Creppel, a Gulf fisherman since the age of 16, talking about the devastating impact of the BP disaster on his livelihood and way of life.


Jacob P. Theriot, Avery Renee Theriot, and Thaddeus Pellegrin

Portrait.Photo: Cary Conover

“My gosh, with that amount of oil, it changes everything. It has the ability to affect everything for God knows how long.”

Watch an audio slideshow of Thaddeus M. Pellegrin, a retired shrimper from Chauvin, La., talking with his grandchildren Avery Renee Theriot and Jacob P. Theriot about the joys and sorrows of life on the Gulf Coast.


George Barisich

Portrait.Photo: Craig Fritz

“If this whole environment gets demolished, what good is a boat?”

Watch an audio slideshow of George Barisich, a third-generation commercial fisherman, talking about his life on the water, and concerns that the BP oil disaster will end his career.


Wendy Billiot

Portrait.Photo: Craig Fritz

“We have to respect the bounty we have to conserve it, all the while enjoying it. Because something like a failed blowout preventer could change all of that in an instant.”

Watch an audio slideshow of Wendy Wilson Billiot, owner of Wetland Tour and Guide Service and Camp DuLarge, talking to her 14 year-old son, Seth Billiot, about the changes in their lives after the BP oil spill.


Peter Cooley

Peter Cooley

“The pelicans pulled out of the black water and of the oil — that was the image that stayed with me. I have a kind of pelican inside me.”

Listen to audio of Peter Cooley, director of creative writing at Tulane University, speaking about the poems he has been writing about the BP oil disaster.


Watch a documentary with these photos and audio interviews: “Stories From the Gulf: Living With the Oil Disaster,” produced by NRDC with opening narration by Robert Redford, premieres on Discovery’s Planet Green on Saturday, April 23, at 2:30 p.m. ET. Here’s the trailer: