This session will explore the lives, places, and stories of the oil industry in marine environments. The places in question are coastal Southern California and coastal Louisiana, where two of the worst oil spills in U.S. history have taken place, both with far-reaching political and economic ramifications. The stories have to do with environment and cultural change relating to these spills and other kinds of impacts produced by the literal and symbolic mixing of oil and water. The lives examined include affluent residents of Santa Barbara, California, oil workers and fishermen in South Louisiana, and native communities in the Mississippi Delta region. This panel will analyze and compare the stories told about, and told by, the lives in these places in order to give historical meaning to the increasingly important social and environmental relationship between oil and water.