Listen to Kindra Arnesen, wife of a fisherman, and Darla Rooks. Audio Producer: Sarah P. Reynolds

Darla and Todd Rooks, longtime Louisiana fishermen, moved into the 40-square foot cabin of their boat after the BP oil spill, because they weren’t sure if they would be able to continue paying their lease. With no toilet, they use a public restroom at the marina littered with dead cockroches. Where they used to make $125,000 a year, now they are in the hole. The fresh seafood they used to eat has been replaced by canned food and they’ve developed a host of health problems, from muscle spasms, to skin rashes to memory loss. Even the puddles in which the boys used to play seem dangerous to Darla, who fears the water is contaminated.

  • Darla and Todd Rooks live on on their shrimp boat. Their grandchildren DJ and Eli Stockstill who often come stay with them.

  • DJ Stockstill, age 7, on his grandparents' shrimp boat.

  • Eli Stockstill, age 3, on his grandparents' shrimp boat, which sits out of the water for maintenance.

Your Story

Share your story of hope and hard times with us, how you survived, if someone helped you and what the experience has meant to you. We will publish some of our favorites.

Contribute

Resources

“In recent decades, the responsiveness of policy makers to the preferences of the affluent has steadily grown, but responsiveness to less-well-off Americans has not.”

- Affluence & Influence: Economic Inequality and Political Power in America, by Martin Gilens

Investigate