GRETNA, La. – “I’m gone, I’m done,” sputtered Empire Shrimper Elmer Rogers. “Next month, I’ll be living under the bridge. The next time y’all see me, you might be putting me under the bridge, that’s where you’re going to be filming me at.”
Elmer Rogers was furious when he walked out of the Gulf Coast Claims Facility office in Gretna, saying he had been instructed to go there, only to be given no news about the emergency oil spill claim he filed months ago.
“All these yeah, yeahs, and promises,” Rogers said. “No, we don’t work on promises. The bill collectors don’t work on promises.”
“Christmas came, my child is 13 years old, she got nothing,” were Rogers wrenching words Tuesday. “You know what she woke up to? No water in her house, and no power.”
Rogers captured oil spill claims chief Ken Feinberg’s attention at a meeting in Lafitte Tuesday when he fell on his knees in desperation.
“I’m not asking for the world, I’m just asking for something to live on, man, that’s all I’m asking from you. What you want me to do, get on my knees and beg you? Because look, I’m here, I’m on my knees. I need my money, sir, to live.”
“You’ll hear from me personally, within the next day, personally, you’ll hear from me,” promised Oil Spill Claims Administrator Ken Feinberg.
So Elmer Rogers thought he would get a check Wednesday, and he said he was asked to start a new application for an interim claim instead.
He said he exploded in desperation.
“I don’t have two wooden nickels to rub together. I don’t have no money. Listen to me: Zero. I’ll give you my bank accounts, you want to look at them,” he said. “I’m sorry, I’m lying. I might have $18 in my savings.”
But at the very peak of his despair, Elmer Rogers’ cell phone rang, and it was Feinberg calling.
Rogers was stunned at the news.
“Mr. Ken, you know I’m not doing good, sir,” Rogers said. Second later, tears sprang to his eyes when he heard Feinberg’s words.
“Thank you Jesus.”
Rogers said Feinberg told him there were technical problems with Rogers’ claim, but added that the claim is now sitting on Feinberg’s desk, and that action would be taken.
“And he said he was going to try to get it to me as quickly, as quickly as possible, within a day or two, you should have your check. He said I’m going to try to cut your check within a day or two. You will have your check. So I guess what I got to do is just wait another day or two. I waited this long y’all, I can wait another day or two.”
Stay tuned to see if Elmer Rogers’ Christmas comes in January.