Jun 21, 2010 7:14 PM by Kate Mundy

Online Critics Bash Shrimp and Petroleum Fest

As the oil continues to gush into the Gulf of Mexico, some critics are questioning how one community can celebrate shrimp and petroleum.

Some writers are appalled that Morgan City plans to toast both industries this Labor Day. Blogger Claire Walter writes: "The good folks of Morgan City, seemingly equally proud of the Cajun tradition and their stinkin' oil industry, don't even seem to be willing to get the greatest man-made environmental catastrophe in American history stop the party or even drop the 'petroleum' part."

But locals strongly disagree. In fact, more than 200 responses have gone up on the Travel Babel blog. "This is what put Morgan City on the map, so therefore, yes, we are continuing the celebration," said festival director Lee Delaune.

Morgan City is the birthplace of offshore oil and gas. "Back in 1947 the first well was drilled out of sight of land just south of Morgan City," said Morgan City Mayor Tim Matte.

Like many local residents, Becky and Reggie Torgrimson rely on the oil industry to make a living and they don't plan to stop celebrating petroleum. "We have participated, our children have participated in the Shrimp and Petroleum Festival," said Becky Torgrimson.

"I'm proud of the industry, I'm proud of the people that work in it," said Reggie.

Many locals say it's an industry even critics rely on. "The ironic thing they're driving their cars and flying around or whatever," said Matte.

The 75th Annual Louisiana Shrimp and Petroleum Festival will not be canceled, in fact, organizers expect it to be bigger and better than ever.
This year's festival will have two music stages, 210,000 visitors are expected. "I'm looking for a large attendance this year, more so because of the oil spill out in the gulf," said Delaune.

The five day celebration runs September 2nd through 6th.


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