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Reflections from the Gulf of Mexico

The region that absorbed the oil spill has been dramatically changed by the lasting environmental and economic effects.

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Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, October 19, 2010; 7:25 PM

Six months after an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig led to the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history, residents and community leaders along the Gulf Coast reflect on how life has changed.

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Chris Garner, 43, unemployed, former charter boat captain

Orange Beach, Ala.

April 20, I had a job, and I was at home, and everything was pretty good, within reason. May 20, I still had a job - everything appeared to be all right. June 3, I lost my employment, and the gulf started being shut down more and more. June 23, I found myself out of my own house and undergoing a divorce, and I'm still in that process right now.

There've been huge surprises, all the way from a personal friend committing suicide to family issues, and I'm not blaming the oil spill for that, but it certainly was a stressor that caused a lot of grief and anxiety.

I'm hopeful things will get better. It's still a challenge now that we're getting into our slow season.

I have had the opportunity to fish four days over the last 14, and that's been the closest thing to normal that I've experienced since that oil spill happened.

I'm just a blue-collared guy trying to make a living on the beach.

I think we will be back full next season. I don't think we'll check out. I think it'll end up okay. I don't see gloom on the horizon forever.

The water is clear and pretty. People are back down here. Assuming there's no issues that show up, today it looks pretty good.

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