South Louisiana’s petrochemical corridor, along the Mississippi River from Baton Rouge to New Orleans, disproportionately affects Native and Black communities, causing high cancer rates, devaluation of property, and displacement of neighborhoods.
Environmental racism in Louisiana stems from 18th-century European and U.S. colonization of Native land and development of plantations using the labor of enslaved people. After the Civil War, African Americans established Black-owned freetowns along the River. In the 20th century, as plants replaced plantations, state and industry targeted sites adjacent to historic Black communities, demolishing home values. Similarly, local government destroyed Black families’ wealth in New Orleans by building the Gordon Plaza subdivision atop a toxic landfill.
The Louisiana Bucket Brigade advocates for a moratorium on petrochemical expansion and construction in Louisiana. Gordon Plaza residents demand fully funded relocation of homeowners by the City of New Orleans.
Our Point of View
Many of south Louisiana’s residents face environmental injustice, a reality rooted in colonialism, the legacies of slavery and segregation, and the intrusion of petrochemical industries. Some of us have experienced these toxic histories, while others gained new perspectives on the landscape we travel every day. Many of us were raised in south Louisiana but we all reside in this vibrant, diverse community and call it home. Support our neighbors in their fight against environmental racism by contacting Louisiana’s elected officials and sharing these stories on social media.
—University of New Orleans
The Louisiana Bucket Brigade collaborates with communities living near petrochemical plants to end pollution and hasten the transition from fossil fuels. Our core partner now is in St. James, where global forces threaten a historic Black community with devastating petrochemical construction and pollution. Throughout Louisiana, brave people stand up to polluters and our own government, offering a different vision than one that sacrifices our state to a destructive industry. We proudly stand with RISE St. James and other communities throughout Louisiana.
—The Louisiana Bucket Brigade
—New Orleans People's Assembly