"A shrimp basket for you. Will that be all?"
While Dauphin Island may not be the the most active place during the holiday season, this evening was certainly hopping at the Common Loon when the visiting UGA Roosevelt students arrived. After a visit to the Indian Shell Mounds of Dauphin Island, which did not quite live up to expectations, the Roosevelters settled in for dinner at a local restaurant and were lucky enough to interview the manager, Adam Alford.
Alford, a native to the area, gave a local business owner's insight into the aftereffects of the spill on Dauphin Island's commerce, especially that involving local restaurants and tourism. Though he admits that the food industry was not impacted as much as other industries because people have to eat regardless, that does not mean that his business was not impacted. BP contracted local restaurants to serve food for those assigned to clean up the spill, which helped business prosper but not flourish. Alford compares the aftermath of the oil spill to the disaster of hurricane Katrina. The difference, however, was that the hurricane provided growth and a boom in construction whereas with the oil spill "just needs to be cleaned up."
However, not all is glum in Dauphin Island. As media attention decreases to the area, Alford believes that tourism will increase again and the island will return to a state of normalcy. For everyone, "It's a learning process," says Alford and it appears that it will be this way for a few more months. Oil is not visible where we have traveled on the island, and tends to be further away from where most inhabit, the aftermath of the spill is still very evident in the region.
Tomorrow will consist of further interviews, investigations, and adventures out and about on the island. I cannot wait to see what is in store for the rest of the trip.