UNWANTED ARCHITECTURE:

GREENFIELD GRAIN TERMINAL

Protest visuals for environmental and social advocacy groups in Wallace, Louisiana

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PROJECT INTRO

These renderings were used as visual aids to demonstrate the enormity of a proposed grain terminal in Wallace, Louisiana. The grain terminal is not wanted by the community: besides its towering presence reaching over 250 feet amongst the predominantly single-story houses, it would have no significant economic or ecological benefit to community. In addition, increased vehicular traffic, pesticide and mold dust, and nuisance animals (e.g. rats) associated with such facilities, pose adverse health-risks to community members.

 

Wallace is part of St John the Baptist Parish, hugging the Mississippi River along an 100 mile long stretch known as ‘Cancer Alley’, where over 150 petrochemical facilities line the river between Baton Rouge to New Orleans. As a result of toxic emissions from these facilities, this area has among the highest pollution-related cancer risk in the United States. A recent study conservatively estimated that 85 people get cancer each year from toxic air pollution in Louisiana. 

Cancer Alley is known internationally as a ‘sacrifice zone’ within the field of environmental justice, being defined as a highly contaminated area which disproportionately affects people of color and/or low-income neighborhoods.

Advocacy groups and residents - including Jo and Joy Banner of Fee Fo Lay Cafe who commissioned the illustrations - are pushing back on the proposed grain elevator.

With legal representation from the Tulane Environmental Law Clinic and from the Center for Constitutional Rights, these groups are challenging the project in court for issues related to the Clean Water Act, local zoning, and the preservation of cultural resources in this historic, Black community. The proposed grain terminal would tower over the historic Whitney Plantation - the only museum focused on the lives of enslaved people in Louisiana. 

 

Although the proposal claims it will bring ‘jobs’ to neighborhood residents, the economic ‘prosperity’ that developments have historically promised community members, have not been delivered. A study by PNAS shows that communities of color are disproportionately impacted by toxic facilities in the US, but do not get their fare share of jobs at these facilities. 

An example is in St Gabriel of Iberville Parish, where 30 large petrochemical plants exist within a 10-mile radius, only 9% of full-time jobs are held by locals

The style of rendering deliberately avoids a biased view of the facility, instead relying on picturesque undertones - even here the scale of the grain-elevator cannot be viewed as a positive addition to the community. 

1.Baurick, T., The Times-Picayune, The Advocate, Younes, L., ProPublica, & Meiners, J. (2019, October 30). Welcome to “cancer alley,” where toxic air is about to get worse. Propublica.Org

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Below: Site plan, with industrial areas appropriately rendered in black. 

Across the river from Wallace lies Atlantic Alumina along with several chemical plants and oil companies. Wallace lies within the St John the Baptist Parish, which has been recognized by the EPA as having the likelihood of getting cancer from air pollution over 700 times the national average .

2.Cancel Alley, Wikipedia:  Hersher, Rebecca. "After Decades Of Air Pollution, A Louisiana Town Rebels Against A Chemical Giant". NPR.org. NPR. Retrieved 21 September 2018.

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Below: Screen captures from 3D Rhino model, demonstrating scale of terminal in relation to Fee Fo Lay cafe (in pink). Middle image shows future views from cafe, if proposed grain elevator is to go through with construction.