This last week might have marked the end of the road for Debbie’s Cafe in Gheens, Louisiana, as seafood distributors stopped citing prices for locally caught shrimp and instead presented the owner with only one option: Imported shrimp. (via AP)
“The last price I got from him was for imported shrimp, and I said, ‘No thank you,'” Debbie’s owner Vicki Guillot told the AP Thursday, two days after she shut her doors for good. Located roughly 50 miles southwest of New Orleans, Gheens is surrounded by water, located only a few dozen miles from the saltwater coast.
And yet as the oil spill in the Gulf has grown, and fishing has been barred from an increasing swath of ocean, the local fish supply has started drying up. A way of life has hit a devastating road block – not just for fisherman and boaters, but also for people like Guillot, who have made a life out of buying from, and cooking for, the Gulf fishing community.
“Our waters are all around here,” she told the AP, as she broke into tears. “Our boys fished all the time. To buy imported?”
After all the talk of relief wells and millions of barrels of lost oil, it is stories like Guillot’s that put a face on the tragedy. The oil has come, and Debbie’s Cafe has gone. It’s likely never coming back.