This week marks the anniversary of the gulf disaster.
As flames seared the dark Gulf night nearly one year ago, no one could have known the magnitude of the catastrophe sparked by the explosion on the Deep Water Horizon well.
The initial impact was horrific: Eleven lives lost, early, haunting faces of a crisis that would linger.
Oil began to pour into the Gulf, and continued for 85 days.
Nearly 200-million gallons washed up on Gulf beaches, choking off fragile wetlands and wildlife.
Government scientists say most of the oil is gone now, but those who live on the shore wonder just how much remains.
"Here today, we've got isolated areas where there is still oil washing up from the bottom.. Bay Jimmy, Pass a Loutre, Elmers Island, Grand Isle," says Louisiana's Plaquemines Parish president Billy Nungesser.
Still, there are some signs that things are getting better.
Oystermen, and fisherman are finally back on the water, but despite rigorous testing that shows their catch is clean, Gulf seafood customers have been slow to come back to the table.
Some worry a full recovery will take years, a worry fueled by the fact that BP is pulling money and resources from the region.
"Every week they've scaled back. There's a few crews. Here we are a year later, there's still no sense of urgency," says Nungesser.
No one can know for certain the overall health of the Gulf right now.
A study by more than three dozen scientists gave conditions in the Gulf a grade of 68 on a scale of 100.
For comparison, they say it was 71 before the spill and 65 last october.
What everyone can agree on is there is still a lot of work left to be done.