BAYOU LA BATRE, Alabama (WALA) – The people of Bayou La Batre are restless. Many have been waiting for claim money from BP for months on end.
Mayor Stan Wright said claims czar Ken Feinberg needs to know the people of the Bayou are important too.
“They’ve never been taken care of like they should have been. Right now, Baldwin County is the squeaky wheel and that’s okay,” said Wright.
Mayor Wright said his people are suffering and it is about time they get some face time with Feinberg.
The claims czar will be in Wright’s neck of the woods Tuesday for a town hall meeting.
Mayor Wright said security will be tight for Feinberg’s visit to the Bayou La Batre Community Center.
“We don’t want no shouting or screaming. We want this meeting to be informative and education so our people can learn something,” said Wright.
Mayor Wright said he’ll keep order by choosing three people to ask Feinberg a question.
Mobile County Commissioner Mike Dean and Dauphin Island Mayor Jeff Collier will also chose three people each.
Mayor Wright hasn’t decided who he’ll tap to deliver the third degree.
“It depends on who shows up, and I will pray about it, and whoever I think needs to be picked, that’s who is going to be picked. Could be a rich man or a poor man,” said Mayor Wright.
Either way, Mayor Wright hopes the people of Bayou La Batre will be taken care of, once and for all.
Rin Tho, is a Bayou La Batre resident struggling to make ends meet. Tho went to the Gulf Coast Claims Facility Monday looking for relief.
“It is bad. Kind of slow right now. Last time I made good money, but not now $100 to $150 a week. Last time was like $1,200 or $1,000 a week. Ya know,” said Tho.
Tho is a seafood truck driver and he isn’t alone. A lot of people in the Bayou are hurting. They’ve filed claims with BP for a piece of the $20 billion compensation fund; but few have seen a dime.
Larry Banks worked in the one of the fish houses. Just like Tho, he also filed a claim with BP for lost wages.
“What happened to my claim money? Everyone else seems to have gotten their money but me,” said Banks.
Banks hopes Feinberg’s visit to Bayou La Batre will speed things up on the payment end.
“I don’t think Feinberg is going to do a good job to tell you the truth,” said Banks.
That seems to be the shared sentiment for folks on Shell Belt Road. It is home to several seafood packing houses. Several business owners said they haven’t received any money from BP.
The owner of one seafood franchise, who didn’t want to be on camera, said Feinberg needs to be fired. The man doesn’t plan to go the meeting since he doesn’t think it will help things.
Feinberg’s meeting in Bayou La Batre gets underway at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday at the Bayou La Batre Community Center on Padget Switch Road.