Deepwater Horizon Oil Disaster Oral History | National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Deepwater Horizon Oil Disaster Oral History

  • Collection DOI:
    Principal Investigator:
    Louis M. Kyriakoudes
  • NOAA's Deepwater Horizon Oil Disaster Oral History documents the experience of people living in Gulf of Mexico  oil-spill-affected fishing communities. The oral history data complements other social and economic data about the spill collected by NOAA and other governmental agencies and non-governmental organizations.

Interviewee Description Interviewer Date of Interview Location of Interview Affiliation Collection
Milton Zirlott

Mr. Milton Zirlott is a retired commercial fisherman on the Gulf Coast. Zirlott was born on December 29, 1925, to Ellis Zirlott (born 1898 in Fowl River, Alabama) and Nittie Rhodes Zirlott (born around 1906 in Bayou LaBatre, Alabama). His father was a commercial shrimp fisherman and a boat-builder. His mother’s father was a net-maker. Zirlott went to school at Alba in Bayou LaBatre, Alabama. He had one brother, Robert Zirlott.

Barbara Hester Bayou LaBatre, AL NOAA-NMFS, University of Southern Mississippi - Northern Gulf Institute Deepwater Horizon Oil Disaster Oral History
Norman Yandell

Mr. Norman Yandell is a resident of Long Beach, Mississippi, a net-maker, creator of Norm Bait handmade lures, and a lifelong fisherman on the Gulf Coast. Yandell was born on August 12, 1934, in Gladewater, Texas, to Jessie Andrew Yandell and Minnie Quave Yandell (born December 25, 1918, in Poplarville, Mississippi). Yandell moved to the Mississippi Gulf Coast as a young boy, residing with his mother and his stepfather Earl Holley (born January 1, 1916).

Stephanie Scull-DeArmey Long Beach, MS NOAA-NMFS, University of Southern Mississippi - Northern Gulf Institute Deepwater Horizon Oil Disaster Oral History
William W. Walker

Mr. William W. Walker is a resident of the Gulf Coast. At the time of this interview he was Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources. Walker was born on September 16, 1945, in Hammond, Louisiana, to Mr. and Mrs. William Byrd Walker. Mr. Walker attended Hammond High School, Southeastern Louisiana University for his bachelor’s degree, and Mississippi State University for his master’s and doctoral degrees, graduating in 1972. He married Sharon H.

Stephanie Scull-DeArmey Biloxi, MS NOAA-NMFS, University of Southern Mississippi - Northern Gulf Institute Deepwater Horizon Oil Disaster Oral History
Dac Truong

Mr. Dac Truong is a Vietnamese-American shrimper living in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. Truong was born on May 8, 1954, in Rach Gia, South Vietnam. His father was a fisherman, head captain, and carpenter who built his own boat. Mr. Truong was his co-captain. In 1982 Mr. Truong escaped Vietnam with his family, navigating to Malaysia as captain on a friend’s boat. They were later transferred to a camp in the Philippines where he learned some English. In 1984 Mr. Truong and his family finally made it to Fort Smith, Arkansas, where they lived for three years.

Linda VanZandt, Angel Truong Phan Ocean Springs, MS NOAA-NMFS, University of Southern Mississippi - Northern Gulf Institute Deepwater Horizon Oil Disaster Oral History
Tuan Tran

Mr. Tuan Tran is a Vietnamese-American shrimper living in Biloxi, Mississippi. Tran was born on July 28, 1963, one of seven children, in Nha Trang, South Vietnam. Mr. Tran’s father died in battle, serving in the Army of the Republic of Vietnam, when Mr. Tran was twelve years of age. Upon his father’s death, Mr. Tran quit school to help his mother make a living to support selling produce and other goods in the market. In 1986 Mr. Tran was out fishing when he made a sudden decision to escape Vietnam when approached by others who were escaping.

Linda VanZandt, Angel Truong Phan Biloxi, MS NOAA-NMFS, University of Southern Mississippi - Northern Gulf Institute Deepwater Horizon Oil Disaster Oral History
Thieu Tran

Thieu Tran is a Vietnamese-American tuna fisherman living in New Orleans. Tran was born, one of eleven children, in 1960 in Vung Tau, South Vietnam. His parents sent him to live in a seminary during the Vietnam War, returning home in 1974. Mr. Tran’s father was a fisherman and also joined the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnamese Army) providing security for their town. Mr. Tran’s mother helped sell the fish catch when it came in. Mr.

Linda VanZandt, Khanh Nguyen New Orleans, LA NOAA-NMFS, University of Southern Mississippi - Northern Gulf Institute Deepwater Horizon Oil Disaster Oral History
Khong Tran

Khong Tran is a Vietnamese-American shrimper living in New Orleans. Mr. Khong Tran was born, one of nine children, on September 23, 1955, in Kien Giang Province, South Vietnam. He began fishing and shrimping with his father at the age of ten. His mother sold their catch at the local markets. In 1978 Mr. Tran escaped Vietnam by boat with friends to avoid being drafted to fight in Cambodia. He escaped with thirty to forty people toward Thailand and three months later made it to Hawaii, where he lived for one year before moving to New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1980. Mr.

Linda VanZandt, Khanh Nguyen New Orleans, LA NOAA-NMFS, University of Southern Mississippi - Northern Gulf Institute Deepwater Horizon Oil Disaster Oral History
William Thiroux

Mr. William “Billy” Thiroux is a commercial fisherman on the Gulf Coast.  Thiroux was born on July 4, 1937, in Biloxi, Mississippi, to Mr. Louis Thiroux and Mrs. Katherine Pauli Thiroux. His father was a commercial fisherman. His mother worked in the seafood plants as a shrimp picker and a crab picker. His mother’s family were commercial fishermen. Mr. Thiroux finished the eleventh grade, and thereupon joined the US Navy.

Barbara Hester, Louis Kyriakoudes Ocean Springs, MS NOAA-NMFS, University of Southern Mississippi - Northern Gulf Institute Deepwater Horizon Oil Disaster Oral History
Salvador Blake Sunseri, Part 2

Mr. Salvador Blake Sunseri was born April 1, 1986. He is Al Sunseri’s son, and he is the manager of P&J Oyster Company. Blake Sunseri attended St. Matthew the Apostle Grammar School and Heritage Academy High School. He enjoys long-boarding and bonsai cultivation.

Stephanie Scull-DeArmey, Linda VanZandt New Orleans, LA NOAA-NMFS, University of Southern Mississippi - Northern Gulf Institute Deepwater Horizon Oil Disaster Oral History
Salvador Blake Sunseri, Part 1

Mr. Salvador Blake Sunseri was born April 1, 1986. He is Al Sunseri’s son, and he is the manager of P&J Oyster Company. Blake Sunseri attended St. Matthew the Apostle Grammar School and Heritage Academy High School. He enjoys long-boarding and bonsai cultivation.

Stephanie Scull-DeArmey, Linda VanZandt New Orleans, LA NOAA-NMFS, University of Southern Mississippi - Northern Gulf Institute Deepwater Horizon Oil Disaster Oral History