Posted: Jan 31, 2011 4:51 AM by Nichole Larkey & AP
Updated: Jan 31, 2011 4:52 AM
MONTEGUT, La. (AP) - Even before oil began spewing into the Gulf of Mexico last spring, Louisiana's American-Indian fishing villages were on the brink of collapse because of social change and the
dramatic loss of coastal wetlands.
Now, Indians who've known nothing but fishing all their lives find their futures tied to the man handing out checks for damages, paid from a multibillion-dollar fund started after the spill.
Kenneth Feinberg, who's in charge of BP PLC's $20 billion compensation fund, met with them for the first time Friday on the back bayous of south Louisiana at a gymnasium in Montegut, about an hour and a half from New Orleans. The fishermen want Feinberg to
compensate them not just for lost wages, but a way of life that
relied on the bounty of the marshes and now is in jeopardy.