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Gulf oil spill: Big Easy worried but busy

April 30, 2010 | 10:41 am


In New Orleans, there is a sort of surreal atmosphere about the gulf oil spill disaster: Locals are aware of how grave the situation is, but many of them – particularly in the retail, tourism and restaurant industries – are swamped serving happy out-of-town revelers in town for the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.

At the Louisiana Music Factory, a specialty record store in the French Quarter, clerk Mike Robeson said that none of the tourists visiting the shop really mention the spill – and during the day he's too busy to really ruminate on it.

“There’s so much going on there’s almost no time to talk about it,” he said.

But on his way home Thursday night, Robeson stopped by the Nelly Deli grocery store, at Bourbon and Ursulines streets, to buy a half-pint of Jim Beam. The news was on television, and it suddenly it hit hard.

“The clerk was almost crying over the brown pelicans,” he said.

-- Richard Fausset

[Updated 5:25 p.m.: An earlier version had the headline: "Gulf oil spill: The Big Easy takes the news with shrug."]

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Photo: Wednesday's burnoff of some of the oil spill. Credit: