In the late afternoon March 30, on the eve of Memorial Day, the traditional kickoff to the Gulf Coast tourist season, Grand Isle, La., mayor David Camardelle ordered the beaches partially open. They’d been completely shut down at the start of the holiday weekend. Residents and visitors were allowed to walk along a portion of
the shore but couldn’t actually go close to the water, where BP temporary workers and enlisted men and women built berms and blockades and cleaned up crude that had already washed up — the result of the BP oil leak still gushing into the gulf, the biggest leak in U.S. history. Once the mayor’s order went out, city workers still didn’t completely remove the “Beach Closed” signs. Instead, they covered them with garbage bags. A temporary move in an unpredictable, hope-starved situation.
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