I was thinking about the alcoholic judge I used to date, and how he’d march at the head of the local Memorial Day parade every year as a Vietnam vet. Except that, you know, he not only wasn’t a Vietnam vet, he’d never even been in the service.
For a long time after we broke up, I was really afraid to trust my own judgment. It’s depressing to have fallen for such elaborate lies; you feel like a fool. But I eventually began to see him as the eccentric drunk he is and now I just shrug if someone mentions him. As his law partner once told me, he’s only upsetting if you take him seriously in the first place.
“We wanted to be proactive and go out there and get it cleaned up as fast as we can, and do whatever it takes,” remembers charter boat captain Louis Bayhi, who worked for BP in the early days of the disaster. When his crew made it to shore, he went through a triage tent where doctors asked how he was feeling — but his complaints of headaches were brushed off as seasickness, he says.
Months later, Bayhi still hasn’t been paid the $255,000 he says he’s owed for his work in Vessels of Opportunity, a BP-administered program wherein private boat-owners assisted with cleanup efforts. He’s visited hospitals for severe abdominal pains, but he doesn’t have health insurance, and no insurance provider will take him on, he says. He lost his home, and he and his family — his wife and his 2- and 3-year-old daughters — now live with his wife’s grandmother. The family visited Grand Isle beaches in August, where his kids swam in the water and played in the sand.
“My little girls now have more toxins in their blood than I have. That hurts more. I blame myself,” he says, fighting back tears. “I let them go and swim and play in the beach, but at the same time those sons of bitches said it was safe.”