Holloway joins mayors in New Orleans for marsh tour, briefing

Mayor A.J. Holloway and mayors from 15 other cities spent Monday meeting with city and Coast Guard leaders dealing with the oil spill in south Louisiana, touring oil-infested marshes and hearing the latest on the spill efforts.

“The biggest thing I learned was just how fortunate we are,” Holloway said later. “We’re fortunate that we haven’t had the oil the way that they’ve had in some of the marshes, that we haven’t had the impact that they’ve seen. It was important for other mayors to see this first-hand, but at the same time, the story was the same on the front lines: There’s still so much uncertainty.

“They’re essentially dealing with a new oil spill every day. It’s not in a place one day, then it’s there the next day. And when it does get into the marshes, they wonder whether they’ll do more damage trying to remove the oil from marshes or just leaving it there for the elements to deal with it naturally. Either way, it’s difficult.”

The day included a tour of the Barataria Basin between Lafitte and Grand Isle. Included was a stop at Bay Jimmie and Bay Baptiste, areas where sections of marsh were inundated with thick black oil from BP’s spewing well head 50 miles off the Louisiana coast.

The visit was coordinated by the U.S Conference of Mayors and hosted by New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu. It included mayors from cities in California, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Minnesota and across the Gulf Coast. The two largest cities represented: Houston and Philadelphia. Besides Holloway, Mississippi was represented by Prentiss Mayor Charley Dumas, who is president-elect of the Mississippi Municipal League.

Landrieu asked his fellow mayors to oppose the six-month drilling moratorium and to support so-called fair-share legislation that would increase Louisiana’s share of oil and gas royalties.

More online

—To see nearly 200 photos from the day in New Orleans, click here.

—To read the message that Mayor Holloway brought to his colleagues, click here.

—To see a white paper on the economic impact of the spill, as prepared by the University of Southern Mississippi and released on June 14, click here.

—To see the list of mayors attending the event and to read the message from The U.S. Conference of Mayors, click here.

News and notes

Council meeting: The City Council meets this afternoon at 1:30 in the auditorium of the Community Development Department on MLK Boulevard. To see the agenda, which includes an item to approve zoning for a proposed hotel at Bellman and U.S. 90, click here.

RFP deadline: Firms with experience in dealing with oil pollution and shoreline protection have until 10 a.m. on June 30 to present their proposals to the city. To read the city’s Request for Proposals and to see the specs for a proposed contract, click here.

Spill info: The city’s online spill info center has the latest on the spill, including the city’s plans, how to volunteer, animated path since April 21, and air quality monitoring data. To go there now, click here.