Chemist Wilma Subra has spent her career defending local communities against Louisiana’s powerful oil and gas industry. She received a MacArthur Fellowship for helping “ordinary citizens understand, cope with and combat environmental issues.” When the Deepwater Horizon oil spill happened in the Gulf of Mexico, Wilma’s phone started ringing and hasn’t stopped. At first, they were calls about people who knew men on the rig — and then later, more calls and e-mails from people on the coast complaining of nausea and breathing problems.
Majora Carter spends a day with Wilma Subra as she travels from her office in New Iberia — past town after town she’s helped with environmental concerns during the last 30 years. Their trip culminates in the coastal communities of Grand Isle and Venice, Louisiana, where she’ll be taking water and sediment samples and meeting with community members whose concerns are now the focus of her investigation.