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Macondo: a tragically prescient name


What's behind the name Macondo?

by Len Bahr, PhD*

Would a Macondo well blowout by any other name not smell as nasty?

The name Macondo has a distinguished history that turned out to be a tragically prophetic choice for a disaster. Macondo was the name of a fictional city in Columbia described by Gabriel Garcia Marquez in his iconic Nobel Prize-winning novel 100 Years of Solitude (Cien Anos de Solidad, 1967). (Editor’s note: after posting I got this email message from my personal Latina grammarian):

Your grammar in Inglesh (sic) is very good, but not so much in Spanish; you wrote, ” Cien ANOS (assholes) de Solidad instead of Soledad with ‘E’;” anyway, you can put an i in between the N and the O so it will sound more like anios, or you can insert the Ñ simbol (sic).

This account of the History of Macondo by Gene H. Bell-Villada includes the following quote:

From modest and rugged beginnings, the inhabitants of Macondo become wealthy and wise, but also lose sight of their original roots and better traditions, eventually reaching a state of decadence.

Back to the non-fictional world.

Like many others in south Louisiana I’ve spent untold hours during the past year reading, listening and watching everything I could on the Macondo well blowout…and I’ve done my share of writing about it and discussing it with many laymen, scientists and engineers. Knowing that many of my fellow journalists in various media outlets would be running anniversary stories on the disaster, I virtually immersed myself in stories this week and decided to share links to what I read online, saw on TV and heard on the radio. Right now I feel like I’m covered in sludge and in need of de-oiling.

Anyhow, for those of you who have been too busy, I present the following bulleted links to media stories, reports and videoclips on the Macondo blowout. These links are limited only to what I’ve seen, heard or read and very far from a complete set!

Broadcast Media


PBS News Hour (LPB)

Looking back after a year  videoclip.


Rachel Maddow Show videoclip


WRKF-FM 89.3

Tegan Wendland interviews on Macondo impacts

4/18 Thaddeus Pelligrin Chauvin shrimper

4/19 Tulane Poet Peter Cooley

4/20 wetland tours operator Wendy Billiott


Morning Edition

Debbie Elliott story on shrimper’s hopes.

Brian Naylor story about troubling obstacles for oil regulatory agencies


Eve Troeh story about LSU scientist Andrew Whitehead denied BP oil samples for research

All Things Considered

Christopher Joyce story on the quagmire of bureaucracy that is stifling research on ecological impacts.



Cain Burdeau article called A Day to Remember, recalling the Titanic ANight to Remember.

The Times-Picayune

Very thoughtful op/ed commentary by Kendra Arnesen.

Mark Schleifstein story about memorial service at Grand Isle

Bob Marshall article on ongoing and painfully slow NRDA study

Animated graphic

T-P staff review

Mark Schleifstein’s article describes oil still oozing from coastal marshes.

David Hammer’s article describes Louisiana native and presidential oil spill commission member Don Boesch coming under fire from Billy Nungesser during ADpril 19 Gulf Restoration Team meeting in New Orleans.

The Advocate

Bill Lodge’s front page story.



Post on a collection of stories, including an AP post on health impacts of BP hydrocarbons with a quote from Raceland physician Mike Robichaux, M.D.:

Mike Robichaux is a local doctor who has seen up to 60 patients in recent weeks with a mysterious sickness that some attribute to BP’s oil spill. Dr. Robichaux has been making house calls because many of the “stoic” workers don’t want others to know that they are sick. Yet, Dr. Robichaux tells the AFP, “Ninety percent of them are getting worse… Nobody has a clue as to what it is.”

Michael McAuliff article about BP doling out fat campaign contributions

Marcus Baram article describing a post-Macondo do nothing Congress

*Founding Editor

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  4. “Macondo” is not the only tragically prescient name for a well. More crazy but true well names reviewed in my Lens commentary here

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