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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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 email@example.com