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Gulf residents mourn oil disaster

By Katie Hawkins-Gaar, CNN
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • iReporters are documenting the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico
  • "I'm sick about it. These are my beaches," said Gulf resident Michael McHugh
  • You can see more photos and video on the oil disaster on CNN iReport

(CNN) -- iReporters across the Gulf Coast have been documenting the oil disaster as it worsens and heads toward their hometowns. Their words show the grief and sadness that so many Gulf Coast residents are experiencing.

New Orleans, Louisiana, resident Eileen Romero drives down to Grand Isle, Louisiana, regularly. "I cannot fathom the depth and breadth of the emotions these residents feel. I am still so angry today, and they are there watching this every day," she said.

"After seeing all the news reports, I decided to drive down to Grand Isle ... to see for myself," said iReporter Natasha Combs. She has reported on the clean up efforts there.

Musician Johnny Colt has been to various locations across the Gulf Coast, documenting the oil disaster and talking to local residents and officials. "I've been coming down to the Gulf to vacation with my family for 20 years," he said. "I couldn't believe how little information we were getting. I didn't like feeling like a victim."

And Abby Burtner Manuel, a photographer for the U.S. Marine Corps, decided to visit Grand Isle and take pictures there as a civilian. She said she wanted "to show what us regular people see and the impact it has on the locals and their homes."

These iReporters are just a handful of concerned Gulf residents who are documenting the oil disaster and sharing their stories with the world. You can see more on CNN iReport.

Oil disaster: Tracking the numbers
Part of complete coverage on
Impact Your World: How to help
A number of organizations are recruiting volunteers to help clean up coastal areas
Depths of the disaster
Get the numbers, see the images and learn how the worst U.S. oil spill has changed lives, ruined economies and more.
iReport: Gulf journals
These stories help us look into the lives of the hardworking people of the Gulf as they watch this disaster take its toll.
Send your photos, videos
Is your area being affected by the spill? Help CNN track the oil slick and its effects on Gulf Coast communities and wildlife
Map: What's been hit
Interactive map locates oil sightings and stories
Daily developments
How big is the slick? What's being affected? What's being done?
Timeline
Track the major developments of the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico
Berms, booms, blowouts: Glossary
Breaking down the jargon of the disaster