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 The fresh seafood they used to eat has been replaced by canned food and they’ve developed a host of health problems, from muscle spasms, to skin rashes to memory loss.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.

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"Included in this group [the underrclass] are individuals who lack training and skills and either experience long-term unemployment or are not members of the labor force, individuals who are engaged in street crime and other forms of aberrant behavior, and families that experience long-term spells of poverty and/or welfare dependency."

- The Truly Disadvantaged: The Inner City, the Underclass, and Public Policy, by William Julius Wilson