News of the explosion on the offshore rig Deepwater Horizon on April 20 came with little fanfare. The story broke, making top local headlines, but not quite registering in the larger popular consciousness.
While the details of the explosion were grim and heartbreaking — 11 men perished in the explosion — there was very little indication of the monster story that waited down the road: an oil leak, an inability to stop it and the very real threat of an unprecedented ecological disaster.
Within 10 days of the explosion, however, that would all change. As thousands of gallons of oil poured into the Gulf of Mexico each day and as the giant slick inched closer and closer to the shores of the Gulf Coast states, the story of the Deepwater Horizon and its aftermath became fodder for debate, political punditry and partisan posturing across the country.
Within 10 days, a local story became a national crisis, and the Louisiana Gulf Coast — barely back on its feet from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina — was once again ground zero.
In that crisis moment, a group of young local professionals saw an opportunity — an opportunity to educate, to document and to affect change. They took the opportunity and ran with it.
And “Dirty Cajuns” was born.