The people of Louisiana are fiercely proud of their home state. New Orleanians can even be described as being “proud of their pride.” This is how local chains such as K&B and Hubig’s Pies became cherished New Orleans traditions. Cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all solutions that seem to work in every other city are rarely embraced by New Orleans. Why, then, do the core products of New Orleans’ most famous tradition not reflect this pride? After Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the mentality of Louisiana became one of self-reliance. I see no reason that this should not extend to Mardi Gras.
“Did you see or smell it?” It’s Friday, January 31st, and I’m handing out cards with this headline in the Standard Heights community of Baton Rouge. The LABB Emergency Response Team has deployed for the second time this week, due to yet another refinery accident. On Monday January 27th between 4 and 5 pm, we received three reports to our iWitness Pollution Map, all describing flaring at the ExxonMobil Baton Rouge Refinery.
On Monday afternoon we deployed to Chalmette to conduct outreach to increase the usage of the Bucket Brigade’s iWitness Pollution Map. As a new employee of the Bucket Brigade, this was my first chance to go out into the field to interact with community members. Growing up in Louisiana, I thought I had an understanding of the pollution issues around the state. After deploying to a fenceline community in Chalmette, I learned so much about an area that I originally thought I knew well.
At 2 PM on Friday, October 25th Valero Refinery in Meraux, LA reported a large discharge of crude oil from a rupture in a crude unit to the National Response Center. This crude unit in the refinery had a series of small explosions and a fire in the summer of 2012. This pattern of accidents not only poses threats to families’ health, but also demonstrates Valero’s inability to operate a refinery safely.
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