On 23 March, around 300 protesters in New Orleans aimed to shut down a reading of oil company bids for 44m acres (180,000 km², the size of the entire state of Missouri) in the Gulf of Mexico.
At grassy Duncan Plaza near New Orleans city hall, groups from all over the southern US gathered for a protest called New Lease on Life. “I have really bad sinuses and I hate smoke,” said 18-year-old Howard Johnson. The young activist from Biloxi had boarded a bus and rode for hours to be in New Orleans by sunrise to join dozens of other members of green coalitions, local churches and members of the Houma Indian Nation.
Zipping all around Duncan Plaza in bright green safety vests were the protest’s de facto hosts, members of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade. Bucket Brigade founding director Anne Rolfes had written a letter to Barack Obama, a desperate last-minute prayer, asking him to cancel this Gulf lease sale and halt drilling in the Gulf, as he had in the Arctic region and more recently in the Atlantic.
Her prayer unanswered, Rolfes promised me: “We will engage in civil disobedience at the lease sale. We’re going to try and stop the auction.”
Unfortunately for her cause, all the bids had been finalized that past Tuesday. Open public meetings had been held on the issue, but no protesters had shown up. The groups on hand at the day’s event would essentially be booing the movie as its credits rolled. CLICK HERE to read the rest of this piece at The Guardian UK…
Or watch this great video compilation of footage from that day: