July 22, 2014  

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Southern Miss to Host Conference Nov. 19 on Effects of Gulf Coast Oil Disaster

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In the aftermath of the BP oil disaster, many are still wondering about the effects of the spill on the Gulf Coast.  

The University of Southern Mississippi and Mississippi Humanities Council will hold a conference titled “Water World: The Effects of the BP Disaster,” Friday, Nov. 19 at the Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural Center in Ocean Springs. The conference is free and open to the public. 

“This event is a collaboration between entities impacted by the BP disaster,” said Dr. Deanne Nuwer, associate professor of history and director of the Katrina Research Center. “All communities and all aspects of the economy suffered detrimental effects of this disaster. In fact, it will more than likely be years before we grasp the full scope of this disaster. This event is but one effort to call attention to those future ramifications.”

While the conference does include a panel discussion by faculty experts on the subject, there are also other events that are designed to show the far-reaching effects of the disaster on the entire Gulf Coast community.

The group, Asian Americans for Change from Biloxi, will kick off the conference at 3 p.m. with a cooking demonstration. Members Tuyet Nguyen, Lam Le and Kaitlin Truong will demonstrate how to make Banh Bo Nuong (Honey comb cake), Chao Tom (Vietnamese sugarcane shrimp), Banh Xeo (Vietnamese savory pancakes with shrimp) and Bun Rieu (Vietnamese crab rice vermicelli soup).

Following this demonstration, artwork from Allied Health students will be on display. Student creations include clay mobiles depicting sea life on the Gulf Coast, clay bowls and plates adorned with sea creatures and a collage easel display of items found on a beach.

 A short film showcase will start at 4:30 p.m. in the theater of The Mary C, featuring three short films produced by work from Southern Miss Film Institute students who participated in the Southern Miss Summer Film Workshop. 

“What’s Your Life Worth?” explores the impact of the oil spill on the shrimp industry in Louisiana; “A Collective Effort” looks at the efforts of scientists from the Gulf Coast Research Lab and elsewhere who study the impact of the oil spill on marine life; and “Oil and Sand” looks at the BP Oil Disaster along the Gulf Coast by means of a lyrical visual essay.  The Summer Workshop is a part of the Film curriculum at Southern Miss – Gulf Coast.

The conference will conclude with a discussion panel featuring two Southern Miss faculty members, Dr. Brian Richard, associate professor of economic and workforce development, and Dr. Joe Griffitt, assistant professor of coastal sciences. 

Richard will discuss “The Economic Effects of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.” Griffitt will follow with the “Aquatic Toxicology Implications on the Gulf Coast MS 252 Oil Spill.”

Conference participants are encouraged to stay for the film screening of “Burning in the Sun,” a documentary about the start-up of a small business focused on using solar power to provide electricity to the households of rural communities in Africa.

The producer and director of the film will be present for a discussion and reception with the audience following the show. 

For tickets to the film screening or more information, visit www.TheMaryC.org, stop by the Mary C Box Office at 1600 Government Street in Ocean Springs or call (228) 818-2878. Tickets cost $10 ($5 for seniors and children 12 and under) and are available at www.TheMaryC.org

The Mary C islocated at 1600 Government Street in Ocean Springs, open Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. (later for special events).