Tar Balls Hit Battered Lake Pontchartrain

Gulf oil begins to seep into Louisiana's famed lake
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 7, 2010 9:50 AM CDT
Tar Balls the Latest Enviro-Disaster to Hit Pontchartrain
Rigging on idle shrimp boats is seen at sunset next to lake Pontchartrain in the Bucktown section of Metairie, La., Tuesday, July 6, 2010. Oil has infiltrated Lake Pontchartrain for the first time.   (Gerald Herbert)

Louisiana's Lake Pontchartrain first overcame pollution in the '90s so severe no one thought it could recover, then rallied after the Army Corps of Engineers dumped New Orleans' toxic floodwaters into it after Katrina. But now the fishing and tourism face tar balls and oil slicks as Hurricane Alex pushes the Deepwater Horizon's spoils into its waters. "Our universe is getting very small," the president of the lake's fishermen's association tells the AP.

Though weather is inhibiting efforts to block the oil and officials closed parts of the lake to fishing, the amount of seepage thus far appears minimal—tests on seafood so far have come back negative and some 1,700 pounds of sludge have been collected. But try telling that to Louisianans who care deeply about their lake: "You won't hear songs about a lot of the marshes in south Louisiana, but you will hear songs about Lake Pontchartrain," says a biologist.
(More Lake Pontchartrain stories.)

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