This is the third installment of a collaboration between NolaVie and Mondo Bizarro featuring videos and stories from Cry You One, the company’s newest production. Each week during the performance series, which continues weekends through Nov. 24, we’re showcasing a short video from CYO’s digital media component, coupled with a guest blog from one of the performers. This partnership aims to highlight and expand upon the stories of the people living on this land, working on this land, and doing their best to save it.
In the third guest blog of the series, Hannah Pepper-Cunningham returns to introduce a short video featuring Clarice Friloux of Guardians of the Land and Water.
Watch the second segment with Louis Michot.
Watch the first segment with Mrs. Celie.
We drove down to Grand Bois to interview Clarice Friloux on a Friday afternoon. The day wasn’t very hot, so the smell of the open oilfield waste pits down the road was not overwhelming, but they were a large part of the reason we were there. We had come to talk with Clarice about her work with Guardians of the Land and Water, an organization that she co-founded with her husband, Danny to advocate for environmental justice and the closing of the waste pits.
Grand Bois is a small, mostly Houma and Cajun community at the border of Terrebone and Lafourche parishes. Most families have lived there for generations, and, Clarice told us, have a commitment to staying that transcends even the very real health effects of living near the waste pits. Clarice and Danny both grew up in the area and told us sweet stories about the exploring the bayous and biking into town as children as well as more somber ones about living with toxic waste and the aftermath of the BP Oil Spill.
Grand Bois is beautiful, and we spoke to Clarice over sodas on the deck of her and Danny’s home, overlooking trees and green and bayou. Clarice shared with us, as only someone with deep roots in South Louisiana could, the complexities and contradictions of living in a region that is both financially and structurally sustained by the oil industry, while also being adversely affected by it.