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Oil Spill Aftermath: Frustrated Shop Owners

Emma Chighizola, a souvenir shop owner in Grand Isle, Louisiana, is facing tough times without summer tourists.

by CBS News Digital Journalist Miles Doran

Beaches in Grand Isle, Louisiana are beginning to reopen, but it's too late for souvenir shop owner Emma Chighizola.

Her busy season is shot. Without any summer tourists, her business has had to rely on the occasional oil spill worker to keep from closing up shop.

Blue Water Souvenirs is one of the last souvenir shops still open on the island, but just barely. Business is down 50 percent compared to last year.

She filed a claim with BP back in May and received a $5,000 check. But that was three months ago and she hasn't seen anything else since.

"It's frustrating," she said. "I have invoices that are more than that!"

Chighizola has owned her store for 23 years. She said every month she sends BP paperwork documenting her loses, but has not received any more money from BP.

"I mean how long does it take to look at paperwork and say well, you're going to get this or you're going to get that?" she said.

But at least Chighizola got something.

Of the 150,000 claims that have been filed with BP, 60 percent are still awaiting payment. According to BP, most claims are either still being evaluated by the company or need more documentation before they can be considered. To date, BP has paid out more than $353 million.

"They have a lot of claims, I'm sure of that. But I wish they'd take care of me soon!" she said. "It would help me out for sure."

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