Louisiana’s Cancer Alley Communities at Risk

More than 100 petrochemical facilities line a stretch of the Mississippi River between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, which is known to industry as the “Petrochemical Corridor” and to locals as “Cancer Alley.” This series documents the fenceline communities abutting this industrial activity and their efforts to push back against the companies they say are already polluting their air and water and which are often trying to expand further into these neighborhoods. 

In this series

Chinese giant Wanhua Chemical officially withdrew its plans to build a $1.25 billion plastics...
By Julie Dermansky, 6 Sep, 2019
Casket with Geraldine Mayho’s body being laid to rest in St. James, Louisiana.
On August 7, after Geraldine Mayho’s funeral, her body was laid to rest in the St. James Catholic...
By Julie Dermansky, 10 Aug, 2019
Pastor Harry Joseph speaking at a St. James Parish Council meeting on July 24.
“Look at what is coming into the Parish, instead of saying ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah’—it is time to say ‘No...
By Julie Dermansky, 2 Aug, 2019
Yesterday, I stopped writing another story for DeSmog to get ready for what could likely become...
By Julie Dermansky, 12 Jul, 2019
Sharon Lavigne and Barbara Washington, St. James Parish residents, in Washington, D.C.
Last month, four residents from Louisiana neighborhoods impacted by air pollution traveled far from...
By Julie Dermansky, 8 Jul, 2019
Coalition against death alley on the steps of the Louisiana Capitol
On June 3, at the end of a five-day march through stifling heat in Louisiana’s Cancer Alley,...
By Julie Dermansky, 5 Jun, 2019
March against Death Alley
On May 30, around 100 people took part on the first day of a planned five-day march for...
By Julie Dermansky, 31 May, 2019
Coalition Against Death Alley protest in front of Mosaic fertilizer plant in St. James Parish
“Take a deep breath” is common advice for helping people to relax. However, that advice has the...
By Julie Dermansky, 28 Mar, 2019
St. James Parish resident Rita Copper holds a photo of a friend who died of cancer
“You don’t give a shit about brown and black people,” Louisiana activist Cherri Foytlin told...
By Julie Dermansky, 13 Dec, 2018
On September 8,  “Rise for Climate” events took place in 95 countries around the world, pressing...
By Julie Dermansky, 10 Sep, 2018
Denka Performance Elastomer plant, located in LaPlace, Louisiana.
What should be done about a chemical plant in Louisiana’s St. John the Baptist Parish that releases...
By Julie Dermansky, 18 Jul, 2018
Ethel M. Harris, a long-time resident of St. James, Louisiana
Sharon Lavigne and Geraldine Mayho took me to meet some of the most vulnerable members of their...
By Julie Dermansky, 12 Jul, 2018
Keith Hunter in St. James, Louisiana
Sixty-year-old Keith Hunter lived in St. James, Louisiana, for roughly 27 years, and during that...
By Julie Dermansky, 31 Mar, 2018
Robert Taylor next to an EPA air monitor
This past year in Louisiana’s St. John the Baptist Parish, a small group of residents began...
By Julie Dermansky, 4 Jan, 2018
ExxonMobil’s refinery and chemical plant in Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Early morning skies Wednesday in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, were alight from a fire that started...
By Julie Dermansky, 1 Nov, 2017
Three African American men in red t-shirts from the Concerned Citizens of St. John Louisiana stand by a sign warning of cancer risk from chloroprene emissions
If you drive along one of the main streets in Louisiana’s St. John the Baptist Parish, you may...
By Julie Dermansky, 27 Jul, 2017
Concerned citizens sit with signs at a DEQ permit hearing in St. Gabriel
A group of residents in St. Gabriel, a suburb of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is no stranger to...
By Julie Dermansky, 28 May, 2017
Denka's chloroprene plant in Louisiana
It doesn’t take carefully calibrated measurements to realize there is something wrong with the air...
By Julie Dermansky, 19 Apr, 2017