Arcadia Grad, Former Student Helping, Reporting from Gulf Coast

By Purnell T. Cropper | June 8, 2010

Who are the volunteers attempting to clean up beaches in Louisiana? Current graduate student and alum Gordon Rhoads ’07 and former Arcadia student Matt Tucker are “on a mission to the Gulf Coast to volunteer our time and energy,” and they have become citizen journalists along the way. Check out their website at or find them on Twitter at Twitter and Facebook at “restorethegulf.”

Rhoads and Tucker launched their blog “Restore the Gulf” on Memorial Day 2010 and hope to recruit more people to join the volunteer effort. “If you’re considering working down in the Gulf area, the clean-up industry is booming, and with that comes at least a glimmer of hope,” writes Rhoads.

“We’re proving that getting trained isn’t hard, getting down here is possible, and there is a need. If we listened to the big new ‘relief’ organizations, we would be heading home,” he adds. “Without much difficulty, one may find that giving a few days to restore the Gulf isn’t impossible. We came down amongst some of the first to cut through the red tape. The images we are providing detail only the beginning. As we learned, there will be opportunity to volunteer for years to come. We just found out that the real work is being done by the least likely and least publicized efforts.”

Arcadia alum Eric Smith, who earned a M.A. in English in 2008, is helping the group get visibility by posting them on

Tucker, who notes that his family provided him with a video camera capable of filming “in up to 100 mph winds, underwater and at extreme speeds in HD 1080p source code,” reports that “most of the folks that live down in Cominada Bay are local fisherman that go back generations, but the generations of fishing might be halted. Time and clean-up efforts will show how greatly the damage is to the fishing economy. The disaster has mobilized over 20,000 of the best ecologists, seismologists, chemical engineers and field scientists to the Coastal Zone. I have printed out over 60 release forms and will be uploading testimonials from the Grand Isle.”