"Part of me wants to think, ‘OK, in a year we'll be out there crabbing and fishing.' But realistically, we see what happened in Alaska," Shay said.
Alaska and Louisiana have a lot more in common than you might think. Many Gulf Coast residents fish for shrimp and crabs, while some of their neighbors work in the oil industry on offshore rigs.
Louisiana can now add a major oil spill to the list of similarities, but this one is much larger than the Exxon Valdez. By some estimates, the BP well has leaked more than five times the amount spilled in Prince William Sound -- and may continue to do so at the rate of another Exxon Valdez spill every eight to 10 days.
"A lot's at stake here, seafood and oil -- this is Louisiana and without that who knows what's going to happen?" said Thibodaux resident Jamie Picciola.
Gulf residents will need all the expertise and advice they can get as they endure this economic and environmental disaster. Alaskans who have been seen it happen in Prince William Sound are here to help.
They're teaching fishermen how to deploy containment booms, cleaning oiled birds to give them another chance, and making sure residents know how to recover.
"They said, ‘No. 1, you have to make them accountable and you have to do it soon -- you have to organize as an industry group,'" said John Tesvich with the Ameripure Oyster Co.
It's difficult to come up with a number of Alaskans now working in the gulf, and it seems like every day you meet someone who's just arrived, but it's fair to say there are dozens.
And even here, at this critical time, with so many new faces in town some residents can't help but take interest in their visitors from the north.
"Louisiana is a sportsman's paradise, and look at Alaska -- I think y'all might have us beat, you know, on that!" Picciola said.
"You see my pods out there? My pods aren't quite as big as the ones I see on ‘Deadliest Catch;' I love that show," Shay said.
No one can predict what the next few months and years will hold for gulf residents affected by the Deepwater Horizon spill, but they can rest assured: they won't be on their own.
Many of the groups helping out down south say they're learning things in Louisiana that could help improve oil spill response in Alaska.
Tune in to the News Hour Tuesday for Part 2 of our series, where we'll meet an oyster processor in Louisiana who's getting advice from Prince William Sound on what steps he needs to take in these critical first months of the spill -- during which his company has taken a turn for the worse.
Contact Ted Land at firstname.lastname@example.org