Help Burners Without Borders help the Gulf Coast

‘Tis the holiday season, and dirt-rave-goers know that Buy Nothing Christmas is the best way to spend the winter solstice — giving mutual gifts of togetherness, experience, action, pay-it-forward-ism, and all that other fuzzy stuff which lasts forever and won’t be tossed aside and end up in a landfill.

photo by Craig Morse / Culture Subculture

Burners Without Borders is throwing its support behind the Coastal Heritage Society of Louisiana. If you have been following the Oilpocalypse story at all, you’ll know that Kindra Arnesen is one of the most furious angels in this whole dealio, blowing lids off coverups and using every available microphone and rally to alert the American people that this thing is so far from over, it may not have even begun. Her own health issues are well-documented in the media too; the breaking news, however, is that her brother is in the hospital — after trying to tough out the Gulf Blue Plague like self-sufficient Cajuns are wont to do, he submitted to the need for IV fluids and critical care. Doctors on the Gulf Coast, see, they don’t want to treat patients who utter the words “oil spill” or “BP.” They don’t want to spend the rest of their lives testifying in court, lose their jobs, and/or end up getting Matt Simmonsed. Anyway.

watch Kindra’s first public speech (and she hasn’t slowed down):
Kindra Arnesen – speech against BP and Halliburton, Gulf Coast 2010

Kindra and her homegirls in Plaquemines Parish got together the Coastal Heritage Society of Louisiana as a way to alleviate the pressure caused by the Oilpocalyse. Their ancestral homeland, crops, income stream, and way of life have been destroyed, their health is seriously compromised, and these women dropped everything and transformed their living rooms into clearinghouses in order to facilitate the needs of their threatened community. They need medicine — natural healers and clinical herbalists out there? it’s time to rally — and they also need food (gift cards are lighter to mail than cans o’ beans) and toys for the kids this holiday season. It’s not really that big of a deal to organize some sort of effort in this direction, is it? Or maybe calling up the churches or Rotary Clubs in your area to see if they’d like to help? … We leave it up to you. Burners Without Borders IS you.

mayday. m’aidez

In this age of being careful not to toot one’s own horn, I still think maybe I should point out this writer (Summer Burkes) will be on the radio this Thursday Dec. 16 at 2pm. I’m not a scientist, a geologist, an oil-industry executive, or even a longtime New Orleans resident. I’m just an art freak who was there, trying to help, settling into my new Ninth Ward paradise and rolling with Matter of Trust on behalf of the Lower Ninth Ward Village and Burners Without Borders in the days after the Oilpocalypse began. I saw a lot of stuff they still don’t mention on the news, and I know people who have seen even more, and if you haven’t been following the Gulf debacle because it’s truly too horrific to keep up with, then here’s your chance to hear a sum-up.

photo by Craig Morse
checkin’ the water for oil, testin’ hair boom on behalf of Matter of Trust, and gettin’ carpet-bombed with a faceful of Corexit, after which I went home to the Ninth Ward and laid on the couch for 5 days, unable to open my eyes, with irregular heartbeat, numb extremities, gut-wrenching cramps, bleeding out my ears, falling in and out of painful consciousness, and Toxicant-Induced-Loss-of-Tolerance hallucinations. Corexit: It’s like LSD, except instead of awakening, it makes ya sleep with the fishes

Why should you listen to me? No reason, really, except I’ve been following this story closely, ever since the first of 4 or 5 times I got carpet-bombed with Corexit by my own federal government … I’ve also metaphorically been beating up bullies my whole life and getting my ass in trouble because of my big mouth. I used to write the lead A&E column for the San Francisco Bay Guardian, too, so I’m familiar with how journalism works (or is supposed to work), even if I mostly used my journalistic training on music, art, and spectacle. I’ve only got an hour to try to encapsulate my Gulf experience for the concerned citizens out there in radioland, so I hope I don’t choke completely.

Here’s the link about the show, and you listen here. It’s for the Progressive Radio Network, but I don’t consider myself a progressive or anything else besides an anti-bullshitter. The Gangster Party runs everything anyway, and we’re slowly learning to stop all this Democrap / Republican’t infighting and ignore the ego-driven, fear-based jingoism and to look for the men behind the curtain. The men behind the Gulf Coast murder-curtain are some scary, scary folks. Can you feel it? I can feel it. Anyways. Tune in, if you can figure out how to listen to the radio on the Internets.


photo by Wick Sakit
me standin’ in my Lower Ninth Ward house, which I used my life savings to pay for in cash, and worked on really hard for a year and a half. I decided to abandon ship, and postpone the idea of fixing it up, until they stopped spraying Corexit, which they HAVE NOT, because the OCEAN FLOOR IS STILL LEAKING, plus the rumors of synthetic-genomics bio-engineered oil-eating microbes which may catastrophically alter life on Earth, starting with the ocean.

photos by Craig Morse and Wick Sakit, respectively. Thanks fellas!

Phoenix Rising from the Gulf – your best bet at a hard-science update on the reason this ain’t over. If you like Cajun food and music … well, … it’s time to prevent the Elves from having to leave Middle Earth, if ya know whum sayin’

About the author: Summer Burkes

Summer Burkes has been rousting about at Burning Man since 1998. She first met her dusty DPW / Cyclecide / Bike Club fam-dambly on the back of The Bucket. Not a "Burner," just a Cacophony Society enthusiast, Summer loves explosions and cake.

5 thoughts on “Help Burners Without Borders help the Gulf Coast

  • I am a vibrational healer & metaphysician who was welcomed home at BM for the first time this year. I would like to help – by providing services & also by teaching others. Can you let me know how best to proceed? I can drive on down from Canada early in the new year.

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  • Summer’s interview had me close to tears last night as I listened. I have been following the situation pretty closely through Mother Jones news and the Gulf Restoration Network, Summer’s words provided yet another reminder of just how serious the situation in the Gulf is, and the terrible dangers the residents of the area still face.

    I am interested to know how I can help in this situation, and would love some advice on how to go forward. Unfortuantely, I am not in a situation where I can travel to the affected areas, nor can I provide much monetary assistance. However, I am able and willing to be a voice for these issues–a conduit for information or activism. If someone could advise me on how to go forward, I would greatly appreciate it.

    Thanks so much. My heart is with everyone that is affected by this tragedy.

    ((On a lighter note, what was Summer’s comment at the beginning of the radio piece about how she preferred not to be called a burner? She kind of trailed away so didn’t really catch it, and I was left wondering…? ;))

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  • Hi thanks all for wanting to help! Wel, they're still spraying Corexit every night, and there's fresh oil coming into Grand Isle, and pelicans landing on humans' boats and shitting straight blood — so if you're not in the Gulf Coast I can't recommend you go down there.
    One idea is to organize a screening of "Black Wave: The Legacy of the Exxon Valdez" in your area. Check out Riki Ott's page:
    and begin to familiarize yourself with her proposed 28th AMENDMENT FOR THE SEPARATION OF CORPORATION AND STATE. With all the BS goin' on in the world today, this seems to be the starting point for the New America. There's nothing more you can do for the Gulf Coast except this, and to be vigilant, stay on top of the news, become an annoyance to your Facebook friends, hold your eyes open with toothpicks and keep shouting.
    And any time you can raise money to send it to the Coastal Heritage Society of Louisiana, that's a good thing. They're starving down there, and BP has rolled up the carpets and left.
    In the days immediately following the Oilpocalypse, I entertained fantasies of large BWB factions helping put hair boom in the water and protecting the Bayou. But now it's apparent to me there is a war being waged on Americans by … well, do your own research as to who's doing it, but they don't want it clean, and they don't want our help. They want an industrial oil area, and they want the Cajuns to leave or die.
    So now I fantasize about a nationwide BWB movement of little angry dragonflies, flapping their wings all over the place to lift up the people of the Gulf Coast who don't have enough money to evacuate, even though their children are sick and dying of chemical poisoning. Just be aware, and be effective where you are. Thanks and bless!

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