Shell buys disputed area of Norco; Citizens of Diamond neighborhood erupt in anger

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What: Families in Norco's African American neighborhood - known as Diamond - will stage a stormy press conference and protest beside property recently purchased by Shell Oil. A sign stating the community's resistance will be posted. The purchase of this property contradicts Shell's past promises concerning property purchases. Residents feel encircled and trapped by the corporation. Normally sedate, unconcerned residents are up in arms.

Where: First Street at East. In the Diamond neighborhood, right near the property in question. Location will be obvious once you are on First Street.

DIRECTIONS FROM NEW ORLEANS: Take 10 West, exit at the 310 Boutte / Houma exit. Follow signs to Norco. These signs will put you on Airline Highway. Follow Airline Hghwy for a few miles, pass a strip mall on your left with a Burger King and Eckerds. Pass Orion Refining and Motiva Refinery on your left. Come to stop light that is APPLE STREET (if you go over the spillway bridge on the way to LaPlace, you have gone too far). Drive down Apple St., cross two railroad tracks until you come to First St. Turn right. Drive four or five blocks until you come to the intersection with East St. The people will be on your right. You have found the press conference.

When: Wednesday, August 22, 2001 - 11:15 AM.

Who: Citizens of Diamond, many of whom have been active in Concerned Citizens of Norco. Also, residents who have never been active, but who live near the property and are worried about Shell gobbling up the neighborhood. Also, supporting New Orleans based non-profit, the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, and California-based CBE.

Why: For the past year, Shell has claimed that property purchases in Norco are following the 30-year old plan for a greenbelt. It is based on this claim - needing to stick to the old program - that Shell has refused to buy out other residents who want to move. This sudden purchase by Shell of additional property contradicts what the corporation has been saying and has the residents feeling as if they are trapped by Shell; Shell won't buy them out, but WILL buy the land all around them.

Media visuals: Sign posted near the property, with arrows pointing out where Shell is purchasing property and questioning why they are behaving like LAND SHARKS and encircling the neighborhood. People worked up and mad at Shell. Colorful banners and signs.

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