New Orleans native Deborah Dupré reports censored human rights news stories. With Science and Ed. Specialist Grad Degrees from U.S. and Australian universities, Dupré’s been a human and Earth rights advocate over 30 years in those countries and Vanuatu. Her unique humanitarian-based research and development work, including in some of the world’s least developed and most remote areas, led her to write articles appearing in dozens of popular print and Internet media internationally.
Her latest book is the nonfiction, Vampire of Macondo.
Visit her column at Examiner: http://www.examiner.com/user-gdeborahdupre.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
In a nutshell, I’m a New Orleans native who reports censored human rights news stories. With Science and Ed. Specialist Grad Degrees from U.S. and Australian universities, I’ve been a human and Earth rights advocate over 30 years in those countries and Vanuatu.
For twenty years, until a few years ago, I was an ex-pat in Australia and the least developing Pacific Island nation, Vanuatu. The World Health Organization was among my research and development clients. I lived in the outback with Australian Aborigines for two years straight after several smaller contracts with them and being formally invited back for more intensive projects. So, I’ve lived and worked in two of the world’s oldest, least developed and most remote indigenous living cultures.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in south Louisiana’s Cancer Alley. Seeing how the oil mafia rules at just about every level of society there greatly influenced my writing about the BP Gulf oil catastrophe and crime. I was able to include first-hand accounts of life in that environment, ranging from my personal experiences with the most graceful aspects of that setting on bayous to mafia thugs I’ve encountered along the way as a target due to my rights advocacy. Throughout my life, I’ve also watched loved ones die of cancer.
What is your fondest childhood memory?
Visiting relations at Grand Bayou in South Louisiana are the childhood days I still cherish the most. Mama was reared in New Orleans but Daddy grew up on Grand Bayou, first on a “coteau,” an island in the swamp. Memories of Grand Bayou the way it was have been so special to me throughout my life, I included scenes from them in Vampire of Macondo. One such passage follows
“Daddy traveled to school in a pirogue, not unusual back then. When my grandparent’s big, old, cypress house on the coteau burned down, his family moved to slightly higher ground and began their new sustainable life there.
Life there was still paradise, so much so that my great grandfather bought a showboat and named it The Floating Paradise. It traveled Louisiana waterways many moons ago. It has since disappeared, unlike its show tunes down in those parts, same as French, Cajun and even German tunes that linger. You can still hear them down there sometimes, if you’re lucky.
After oil barons discovered oil on our bit of swampland, my folks leased it to them. The bayou we cherished would never be the same: not the fish, fauna, water, music, laughter, frog hunts or anything else that nurtures health and longevity.
That’s part of what drives me to write about south Louisiana. You see, in less than 75 years, our paradise became uninhabitable. My very favorite homes of Papère, Aunt Lou, Uncle Howard J. and Aunt Ally - even much of the land itself - are gone.
In Vampire of Macondo, I answer, “How could Louisiana sweet crude oil have ruined what we most treasured?”
“The answer to that is in the sordid tale that began long ago, featuring primary characters in the Gulf of Mexico Operation today: Big Oil and the U.S. military (PMIC) – its intelligence, troops and codependent contractors and subcontractors. Southerners who’d still not cottoned onto that tale’s messages were learning them the hard way, as of April 20, 2010.
‘When you lose your fish, you lose your culture,’ said Margaret Curole, explaining south Louisiana’s culture in the shadow of the Gulf oil volcano. ‘Your way of life starts to change; your quality of life starts to change. A fishing community and the men who fish - it’s like a continuous chain and now for the first time in five, six generations, the chain is breaking and it’s on their watch and that’s something that goes to the core of who you are as a man and the core of who you are as a community and it’s, it’s, it’s – devastating.’
By then, her voice was cracking with emotion and she struggled to maintain her composure.”
When did you begin writing?
My unique humanitarian-based research and development work, led me to writing news articles that now appear in dozens of popular print and Internet media internationally. I’ve been writing, some people say “prolifically,” since graduate school days at LSU in the late 1980s. I’ve published dozens of research papers, short stories, a children’s book and another book when I lived in Australia, Before Hitting Bottom Down Under.
I’m grateful that gifted and talented writers have surrounded me all my life. My father and closest aunt were gifted writers. My sister is an excellent writer. My husband has written sixty-three scientific papers and three books and edited one. One of my sons, a gifted and talented actor and singer, is also a gifted writer. My other son has made three documentaries on alternative fuels and the crimes of the petrochemical-military-industrial complex (PMIC).
Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?
Sneaking a few moments is not my style. I arise early, between 4:00 and 6:00 when the world is quiet. My creativity is best then. It’s also when I can concentrate without interruption. At the peak of my effort, I often put in 16- to 18-hour days.
What is this book about?
Vampire of Macondo is the first book to detail the human rights abuses of the BP Gulf of Mexico oil crime that began in 2010. Although it took over two years to finish it, it’s still the only book on the market that shows the human side of this horrendous crime.
Vampire of Macondo exposes far more than media, BP, the government or courts are telling about the historic Gulf oil catastrophe that began Earth Day, 2010 and continues to destroy human life and the environment. This event is by United Nations definition, a crime against humanity, as detailed in Vampire of Macondo.
Thousands of survivors along the Gulf coast would testify to this, if given the opportunity. Voices of many of those survivors and some of whom have not survived, are in Vampire of Macondo. Their collective voice in Vampire of Macondo provides insight into the needless suffering of innocent people trampled by the petrochemical-military-industrial complex.
The true story of Vampire of Macondo’s human rights abuses impacts all of us, from most of us who eat poisoned Gulf seafood, to most of us who fill the tanks of gas-guzzlers with blood-tainted gasoline instead of driving sustainable vehicles, to all of us whose taxes support fossil fuel subsidies five times as much as sustainable energy. Most people don’t understand this vicious arithmetic because the powers that be don’t want us to know. Vampire of Macondo provides the public has a chance to learn, and to act.
Often using the road less traveled, most of my life, I’ve worked to identify and fill gaps in my professional human rights advocacy. Media, BP and the government have continually censored the human suffering of thousands of people impacted by BP oil and Corexit for over two years, leaving a gaping hole not only at the floor of the Gulf of Mexico, but also in the public’s understanding of this crime.
In his review of Vampire of Macondo, clinical psychologist Dr. Christof Lehman, editor of NSNBC, No Spin News, stated, “Vampire of Macondo is the shocking truth about a people who have become victims of their government's war against its own people and peoples´ worldwide.”
As a matter of the rights to self-determination and survival amid the U.S. military’s aim of Full Spectrum Dominance, Americans and people globally needed the information in Vampire of Macondo.
Dr. Lehman says in his review that Vampire of Macondo “is not only recommended reading for Americans. It is even more recommended reading and a stern warning for anyone in nations like the Philippines, Vietnam, South Korea, Laos, Myanmar, and people anywhere, where the U.S.A. is exporting its particular brand of freedom, democracy, security and human rights.”
Knowing Gulf coast people have been suffering from not only oil from the BP-wrecked Macondo well, but also from Corexit, shown in research to make crude 52 times more toxic, made my decision to write Vampire of Macondo challenging easy.
Knowing about the real suffering by thousands upon thousands of people without a voice in this Gulf crime because they, like the oil, have been covered up, made this project mandatory for me. Nobody else has written a book as comprehensive as mine, nor one detailing the human rights abuses in as much detail as I have.
Do you have an agent or are you looking for one?
Thus far, I have a virtual book tour agent, Dorothy Thompson with Pump Up Your Book. When Thompson, founding director of Pump Up Your Book, first read my application for her company to represent me, she quickly replied, “Whoa! What a book! I knew there was more to that Gulf disaster than we’ve been told!”
Soon after sending to Thompson one of my Gulf victim interviews that I conducted, and a video demonstrating voices from the shattered Gulf, she replied, “Those poor people.”
Thompson showed the innovative and compassionate response I needed in a company coordinating my virtual book tour. According to what I’ve gleaned about her work on the net, my experience with her is typical – superb.
It’s also been great to work with the Pump Up Your Book videographer who made my book trailer. Following my script, he was able to create a powerful video that motivates people to read Vampire of Macondo. It provides glimpses of the covered up human suffering by real victims, amazing reviews people like political commentator Jim Hightower, EPA advisor and whistle-blower Hugh Kaufman, and What Really Happened? editor and show host Michael Rivero; and, of course, how to purchase the book.
I would welcome another book agent to market my book to publishers and for movie rights if there is one who would demonstrate the same level of enthusiasm and professionalism as Thompson.
If you knew then, what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently?
I thought I knew what I was in for when I started this book over two years ago, but I didn’t! To complete it before the BP trial began took even more time, more endless nights, more attention to detail than I could have imagined. Just as well, too, because I might have had second thoughts about doing it, but probably not. This real story is a staggering crime against humanity needed to be told and nobody else was telling it in a book.
Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?
The two main places at this point are at vampireofmacondo.com and at the Amazon Kindle Store (http://www.amazon.com/Vampire-of-Macondo-ebook/dp/B00AOCUNEW)
Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?
The Vampire of Macodno website is one of the best places for readers to learn more about it. (http://vampireofmacondo.com/)
And then, there’s the Vampire of Macondo Facebook page that’s attracting attention.
Do you have a video trailer to promote your book? If yes, where can readers find it?
Thank you for asking about that! Yes, there is a powerful Vampire of Macondo book trailer that has even prompted film directors to speak to me about movie possibilities. The trailer is on the Pump Up Your Book website, YouTube, the Vampire of Macondo website and the Vampire of Macondo Facebook page.
It was great working with Pump Up Your Book's videographer who made it. By detailing exactly what I needed for that, he was able to create a moving video, with real victims telling snippets of their stories, giving people reason to know that Vampire of Macondo is one of the most important books available now. The trailer’s glimpses of the covered up human suffering by real victims plus it shows amazing reviews from people like political commentator Jim Hightower, EPA advisor and whistle-blower Hugh Kaufman, and What Really Happened? editor and show host Michael Rivero. It also highlights where to purchase the book.
What is the best investment you have made in promoting your book?
Pump Up Your Book has been my best investment. Its virtual book tour is creating a buzz I’d never expected. Dorothy Thompson at Pump Up You Book has arranged so many interviews, it’s been very impressive. At times, it’s felt like I’ve been in a whirlwind trying to accommodate all of those, plus radio and television interviews.
Of course, being a journalist who has written an average of two human rights news articles daily over the past three years has also given an advantage to me. Loyal subscribers and readers have been among my best customers ordering Vampire of Macondo.
There’s already a buzz about Vampire of Macondo, and the virtual tour is only starting. For example, a Google search of Vampire of Macondo already returns 82,300 results. There were fewer than a dozen week before last.
My present one-month coast-to-coast book tour in the award-winning all-electric Tesla Model S also contributes to the media buzz. It is a history-making advance into the new fossil fuel-free world that must come quickly if humans are to survive.
I could not see promoting my book on the crimes of Big Oil and our government while pumping gasoline into my vehicle. After a decade of driving on bio-fuels, I’ve been blessed with the car considered the best in the world.
I’m stopping to recharge every 250 miles or so, staying in touch with online social network friends, colleagues and readers of my human rights news articles while I promote Vampire of Macondo, especially along the Gulf Coast.
What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?
If writing is your passion, write! There is also, however, a word of caution:
If writing about matters related to human rights, however, develop a thick skin, because chances are that you will be viciously attacked from different directions, such as from Internet hijacking sources that operate professionally.
These hackers are paid to cause independent writers to self-censors, according to a plethora of journalists and citizen reporters. By hacking websites and emails to the point that a financial burden occurs and is too great to manage, a writer is more likely to go mainstream and write what corporations condone
What is up next for you?
Related to the BP-wrecked Macondo well still spewing oil and methane, despite the public being told it was capped long ago, is the monster oil and gas industry “sinkhole” in Bayou Corne, Louisiana, my beloved old stomping ground. I’ve been covering that salt dome collapse “sinkhole story” and plan to publish a book about that.
Is there anything you would like to add?
The American dream has been shattered. Courageous survivors described throughout Vampire of Macondo, however, manifest determination and hope, some of which is highlighted in Vampire of Macondo. Their messages might help make it possible to co-create a better world, one based on human rights rather than criminal neglect and cover ups for corporate greed. My hunch is that the Louisiana salt dome collapse “sinkhole” story could help do the same.
Thank you for this opportunity to contribute to a world based on human rights rather than glorified, petrochemical-militarized, corporate greed. Vampire of Macondo is available at http://vampireofmacondo.com/
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