In response to the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion and resultant release of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, BARA researchers Diane Austin and Tom McGuire worked with personnel from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (formerly the Minerals Management Service) and faculty from the Louisiana State University to put together a plan for assessing the short- and
medium- term impacts of this disaster on coastal communities of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. This effort builds on 15 years of research on the effects of the offshore petroleum industry on Gulf coast communities. The first phase of the research began in July and will continue through 2011. Diane Austin and Anthropology graduate student, Ben McMahan, are leading the data collection in Louisiana; former BARA intern Laura Ek will join Austin in the field in September. Anthropology graduate student, Preetam Prakash, who was in the southern Mississippi at the time of the explosion, will return to the region in mid-September. Graduate students Lauren Penney and Mary Good are responsible for data management. We welcome new graduate students, Lindsey Feldman and Devon Robbie, and undergraduates Kelly McLain and Justina Whalen to the team. Additional researchers will join the project in the coming months.