Book a Bike Ride

Welcome to Down by the River, a bike ride designed to get you face to face with two powerful forces in Louisiana: our environment and our history.

To book a tour, e-mail anne@labucketbrigade.org

About the Tour

Our field trip is taken on bikes (though a trip via car is possible*) along River Road in St. Charles Parish. We examine the intersection of the environmental justice movement in Louisiana and local African American history, including the 1811 slave revolt and Mary McLeod Bethune’s visit to the region. This tour is inspired by Margie Richard, the former President of Concerned Citizens of Norco. Margie led her community in a successful campaign for a fair buy out of homes contaminated by Shell Oil.

Margie invoked the past for power and inspiration. She often said, “If my ancestors were willing to be killed for standing up to slavery, I can surely stand up to Shell.”

The Slave Revolt of 1811 was the largest slave revolt in U.S. history. Many of the descendants of the slave revolt comprised the Corps d’Afrique – the battalion of black soldiers who fought in the Civil War. This is a long proud history, but there are scars. The area continues to celebrate the history of the plantation owners, rarely referring to enslaved people. Instead, places like the Destrehan Plantation focus on the china and fancy furniture of the plantation homes. Unsuspecting visitors to the region get a distorted view, as if the wealth of the plantation owners is something to be admired.

The River Road African American Museum explores the experiences of enslaved people. The Whitney Plantation is an additional resource that honestly explores our region’s past.

Down by the River is an evolution of what has traditionally been called a Toxic Tour in which polluting sites – dumps, refineries, chemical plants – are toured. The Down by the River ride transforms a litany of depressing sites into powerful beacons of resistance. The past and the present are applied to today’s movement. Click the tab above for frequently asked questions.

Down by the River is an antidote to the plantation tours that dominate our region. Click the Book Tour Now button above to get started!

*If you are interested in booking a trip that is not on bikes, please e-mail anne@labucketbrigade.org

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I book a trip for a group of people?

You can sign up each member of your group via by sending your list to anne@labucketbrigade.org.  If you would like customized tour on a particular date, e-mail anne@labucketbrigade.org

We prefer to drive. Is that possible?

Absolutely! E-mail anne@labucketbrigade.org

How long is the ride?

The ride takes about four hours as we take time to point out sites along the way. The distance is eleven and a half miles.

Do I have to bring a bike?

Bikes and helmets are included when you book your ride. If you love your bike, you are welcome to bring it, but it is not necessary.

Should I bring anything on the ride?

You should bring water and anything else you need to be comfortable for the four hour ride.

Who leads the ride?

Anne Rolfes and Iris Carter. Iris is a native of St. Charles Parish and was a key part of the Concerned Citizens of Norco campaign for a fair buy out of contaminated properties from Shell. Since 1999, Anne has helped communities impacted by pollution from the parish’s oil and chemical plants. Read more about Anne and Iris on our staff page. 

What does history have to do with the Bucket Brigade?

The Slave Revolt of 1811 is important to the Louisiana Bucket Brigade because, in a region dominated by the oil and chemical industries, it represents courage and questioning of an all-powerful status quo. The history is a powerful force for today’s movements. This ride is an evolution of what has traditionally been called a Toxic Tour in which polluting sites – dumps, refineries, chemical plants – are toured. This ride tranforms a litany of depressing sites into powerful beacons of resistance. The past and the present are applied to today’s movement.

How much does the ride cost?

$85 per person.

I can’t afford it. Is there any other way I can go?

Absolutely! Contact anne@labucketbrigade.org about volunteering.

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Contact Us

Louisiana Bucket Brigade
2803 Saint Phillip Street
New Orleans, LA 70119

 (504) 484-3433
 (504) 324-0332
 info (@) labucketbrigade.org