Louisiana grain silo zoning fight near historic Black community causes divisions

By David Hammer | Eyewitness Investigator

WALLACE, La. — The descendants of slaves living in a historic Black community along the Mississippi River are calling on a judge to stop a $600 million grain terminal from being built next door.

The residents of the tiny community of Wallace on the West Bank of St. John the Baptist Parish say a 250-foot-tall grain elevator, conveyor system and grain storage facility doesn’t belong in the sugar cane fields their ancestors used to cultivate, on a sliver of land between their homes and the Whitney Plantation – an emerging tourist attraction dedicated to telling the story of enslaved people.

They say the project by Greenfield Louisiana amounts to environmental racism, where a poor community of color is targeted for potentially harmful and dangerous industrial development because they don’t have the voice to fight back.

“It’s right next to our homes,” said Joy Banner, communications director at Whitney Plantation and founder of the nonprofit Descendants Project, which filed the lawsuit to block the grain elevator. “It would tower over us, and it would block out the morning sun.”

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